“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” – 1 John 4:18
There is a certain fear in imperfect love. Fear that it will run out. Fear that it will not be enough. Fear that when someone says, “I love you” it is conditional. Immediately we will contradict their statement in our heads with a myriad of “if only”s.
If only they knew about my past…
If only they saw my bad side…
If only they knew about this habit…
Or, one of my personal oppositions to such declarations: “Yeah you say that now, but what happens when you meet someone ‘better’ than me.”
Our tendency to reject unconditional love is strong, because the reasons behind them hold weight. A weight we sometimes put upon our own shoulders and bare unnecessarily… Sometimes, for our whole lives. There are two chief reasons: 1) We cannot love unconditionally, and 2) others cannot love us unconditionally. Some of the biggest insecurities we have find their beginning here, in the lack of unconditional love.
If the lack of unconditional love is the stem of insecurities, then sin is the root.
The truth is: SIN. IS UGLY. Nobody enjoys confronting sin, but it’s something we have to do daily… hourly. Some have the strength to face this sin with patience and grace. But, that is a selective minority. For the most of us, sin makes us cringe. We hate it, and we hate it most when we see it in ourselves and in others.
The problem is, most of us have a problem separating sin from the person. We see the person with the disease, and we think the person is the disease. This makes as much sense as someone saying, “She is cancer” instead of “She has cancer”.
That’s when we make the mistake of fighting not the sin, but the person.
In my personal life I experience this most vividly in the way I handle my own sin. Instead of battling my sin – making charges against my sin, I fight myself – punishing myself… Most commonly through insults:
I’m so stupid.
I’m so horrible.
I’m such a mess.
There is a saying, “Every lie begins with a grain of truth”. Well, there is a grain of truth in this lie.
Yeah, my life is a disaster. And yes, sometimes I am an idiot. But the problem starts when I take that upon myself and Eleyana becomes a synonym for sin. That’s when hating sin becomes hating myself.
And that’s the lie.
For the most of us, this doesn’t stop with ourselves. We carry it onto the way we view others, too. Because the reality is: The way we view ourselves profoundly affects the way we view others. If we cannot accept unconditional love, we cannot give unconditional love. Instead, we show conditional love. Likewise, others show us conditional love. And together we create this environment of imperfect love that breads insecurity, hatred, and fear… The blossom of this sin root.
But God – God turns this all around.
He makes a statement profound to our sin-blossomed souls… His love is perfect. There is no fear, there is no hate, there is no insecurity.
In the love of God we are made sure, perfected, whole. God pours out His unconditional, perfect love on us… And all we have to do is open up our hearts to it.
Let it wash over your broken soul. Let it cleanse you and make you whole. It will, and when it does it empowers you. It empowers you to love others with perfect, unconditional love.