1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
As I was praying and reflecting today, a question arose: “Exactly how does love cast out fear?” As I connected this idea with Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13, I imagined how that kind of love would help my sons be less fearful, especially as far as how I relate to them.
What is it about God’s perfect love that diminishes fears? How does each of Paul’s descriptions of love affect fear?
Patient. As I relate and respond to my sons with patience, their fears will tend to shrink. My angry reactions will tend to feed their fears.
Kind. When I am kind with my sons, they tend to relax around me. My harshness fuels their fear.
Not envious. If I look with envy at my sons at what they seem to have that I seemed to miss in my own childhood, I will tend to increase their insecurities. Selflessness and celebrating God’s grace in their lives will tend to increase security.
Not boasting. When I act in a self-promoting, proud, self-seeking way, I contribute to making my sons feel smaller and more fearful. When I relate to them in a humble, selfless manner, God uses me to encourage and lift them up.
Not rude. My harshness and shortness with my sons only grows their fears. Speaking and behaving graciously and with consideration for their feelings grow their confidence and buoyancy.
Not easily angered. Having a short-temper with my sons cause them to feel endangered and more fearful. Treating my sons with greater patience and having a longer fuse gives them a safe place in which to grow.
Keeps no record of wrongs. Harboring bitterness or unforgiveness toward my sons’ offenses against Gem or me tends to increase their insecurities and fears. Speaking words of forgiveness from my heart decreases them.
Doesn’t delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. If my sons see me saying or doing something to injure them, obviously they will be more fearful. I want my words, my attitude and my actions to be a constant reminder to my sons of what is true about them—that they are beloved sons of the heavenly Father. I want to delight in and celebrate what is true and good in my boys.
As I do whatever God enables me to do to offer my sons protection, trust, hopefulness and do this with great persistence and patience, I will cooperate in His process of growing confident sons. The more I express confidence in my boys, the more confident they will be in You and in themselves.
Communicating my positive hopes for my boys’ lives and futures will tend to increase their courage. Communicating (or even insinuating) beliefs that they cannot change will tend to increase their insecurities and fear. If I never give up on my boys, I trust that they will learn to never give up on themselves…or on You.
May Your grace meet me in my own fears so that I do not respond to my sons from these places, but out of Your unfailing, constant love for me. In the name of Christ. Amen.