I found myself in a conversation with an older lady yesterday at work. After we’d discussed why she’d ended up in hospital, she moved the conversation onto all of the bad news, doom and gloom that is in the media at the moment. Young children accidentally run over, terrorist attacks in Sydney and now France, airplanes disappearing, being blown up or crashed by bad weather.
She expressed her fear at what was happening in the world and seeming lack of any way that these things could be combated.
I also recalled a conversation that I had with a friend of my wife’s towards the end of last year. She was travelling overseas without her family and, in light of all of the goings on around the globe had a very real sense of fear and dread about making the journey as she may never see her family again.
In a world constantly bombarded by news of the next horror or catastrophe, how are we to navigate the fear that sometimes rises within us that the next person to die could be us or our family? That our next journey might be our last?
The author argued:
“Perfect love, the Apostle John says in 1 John 4:18, casts out fear. While none of us love perfectly, it seems logical that even imperfect love reduces or controls fear. We might even say the two are inversely proportional—the more love, the less fear, and vice versa. John goes on in verse 20 to say if we don’t love those we can see, we’re lying if we claim to love the God we can’t see. Clearly, this stuff matters.But maybe in John’s explanation we can find a way to do this thing. Maybe the way out of our fearful hole is to start loving those we do see who get caught up in our broad definitions of “enemy.”
The call of Jesus is to smash those walls we’ve built, to reach through the breach, to touch and meet and serve those we thought were enemies. Not just the ones halfway around the world, but the ones in our neighborhoods and towns who may be hiding in fear themselves. “
He goes on to argue that while this response is not a sure fire guarantee to ensure peace and that in fact many who choose the way of love die in the process, we have the have the model, in Jesus, of one who incarnated this, paid the ultimate price but opens an eternal doorway to peace.
This leaves me with the challenge to consider how I can love more fully, embracing and incarnating the love of God and in doing so walking the road of peace and freedom from fear.