Fear: the opposite of Love


Susan Irene Fox needs neither introduction nor validation.

We were talking a while back and this post happened.
Susan needs neither introduction nor validation.
It’s just that when she writes –
Susan speaks words of our Lord and Father.
Susan forms His words with beauty, power and Love.

And the fragrance on this little blog
Has just gone from “bloke” –
To sophisticated elegance!

Thank you Susan!

This is a “guest post” (just to avoid any confusion)

(NB: it seems that publishing as “password protected” last night (so Susan could see the post “as is”), and then amending to the usual “public” this morning did not have the usual “HELLO HERE I AM” to people’s emails. So I have decided to re-issue this post. If you have already seen it: well done. If not: here it is. Thank you.)

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Fear: the opposite of Love

How many times can we speak of God’s love and have it meet with closed fists? How many times do we come away with broken hearts for those who don’t allow his love inside, yet continue to write about his great love and grace, available to anyone and everyone?

How many times do we cry out to Jesus, “Lord, please let those who live from fear taste your honeyed grace. Let them desire to inhale your sweet bouquet of love and feel your soft-handed embrace of mercy. Let them hear the mellifluous notes of your voice speaking to them of love in ways only they can hear. Enter their hearts, Lord Jesus, and transform them.”

Jesus spoke of it first: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” And, “A new command I give to you to love one another; just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.” And, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

He reminded us all of the two most important commands – to love God first and love our neighbor second – which came from Old Testament law.

He said if we keep these two in our hearts and minds, these were the essence of all the laws, and we would surpass the righteousness of the religious leaders.

The apostle Paul spoke of it often: “Nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

As did the apostle John: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears as not been perfected in [Christ’s] love.”

Yet, we continue to speak and act out of fear: accusing, judging, telling our brothers and sisters in Christ what they should and shouldn’t do in the name of God.

Love is patient and kind.
😦 😦 Fear is impatient and antagonistic
Love is not jealous or boastful
😦 😦 Fear is jealous, dissatisfied and suspicious;
or arrogant
😦 😦 It is presumptuous, contemptuous and scornful
or rude.
😦 😦 Fear is not courteous or willing to learn or listen
It does not demand its own way.
😦 😦 Fear is domineering and judgmental, forgetting we all sin
It is not irritable,
😦 😦 Fear is argumentative
and it keeps no record of being wronged.
😦 😦 Fear is resentful and angry
It does not rejoice about injustice
😦 😦 Fear seeks vengeance rather than justice;
but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
😦 😦 Fear is not open to forgiveness
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful,
😦 😦 Fear does not seek to pray for enemies or offer the gospel to those they hate
and endures through every circumstance.
😦 😦 Fear lets circumstances overcome trust.

My friend Paul has said it over and over. Love is the answer.

No matter the question.

Susan Irene Fox: http://susanirenefox.com/

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As is usual with a guest post, Susan has access to Just Me Being Curious, and can answer any comments or questions directly.

Thank you again, dirt sister
((hug))

36 thoughts on “Fear: the opposite of Love

  1. Love is even feared. We have to trust and totally surrender. To scary, to much to give up. Until we do there is no love no peace. This is a vivid picture of the struggle and truth of mankind. I see myself as broken and weak and in great need to be loved and accepted and to belong. Then and only then do I know I am powerful and loved and accepted. To obey the word of God is wisdom and wisdom is Love. I really do appreciate this post so much.

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    • The comparisons struck me, too, as I read over the verse, Mel. How fear is the opposite of love. How they seem to be the lenses through which we see everything. One is the lens of a made-up, law-driven, orphan religion; the other, the true, heart of Jesus through which we are adopted sons and daughters of God.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have always thought that “hate” or anger was the opposite of love. Not sure why – it just seems to be what I learned as I was growing up. It seems to be the normal way of viewing things. And then “fear” comes along as the opposite of love. And now things become so much more complicated. Because fear is not a “bad thing” like anger or hate. Fear is a “poor me” and “poor you” let’s keep you safe kind of thing.

    Yet when we do it to ourselves? How does anyone change that – except myself?

    Great post Susan – and thank you for such a lovely fragrance about the place!! 🙂

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    • Paul, thank you for allowing me to ruminate here. I, too, once thought hate the opposite of love, yet fear seems to be so much more difficult to overcome. I think fear begets hate, anger, etc…not the other way around. Once I began to see that fear is a source, (and meditating awhile on “love casts out fear”) the Spirit began to bring it together. You know, a few of those 1:1 conversations.

      So glad I left fragrance and not a stink! 🙂

      And sorry for the late replies – I didn’t realize you posted this earlier password protected.

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      • 🙂 🙂 🙂

        I was talking with Little Monk yesterday and the “alignment” of different “1:1” conversations (as posted in different ways by different people) was a topic for conversation. Not with any surprise – just with a wonder and reverence!

        “… the Spirit began to bring it together.” And does so with so much love and affection!

        Thank you for this post. You – and this – have sparked another “bringing it together” in a slightly different direction. As you have admin rights – have a look at the one of the two draft posts sitting there (if you care to) and see what you think.

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  3. I feel very sad. I heard this week about someone who brought me back into Church a couple of years ago. Her life has spiralled down hill to a most difficult place. She was a leader in the Church. She was different. In the end the churches rejected her. She was disorganised, chaotic, forgetful and stubborn. She had some other health problems. She had dogs who barked and soiled and who the neighbours complained about. She did not fit in with the people who ran the churches. We are a semi-rural circuit and there are a lot of small churches on the point of closure.There were whispered discussions, hushed debate. It was all supposed to be confidential. And there was a loud open angry meeting. People were antagonistic on both sides of the argument. There was division. All I know was that she was Spirit-filled.When I attended her services it was as if God was talking directly to me. I was in a bad place. She drew beautiful pictures of how God loved each one of us in all our diversity. I kept one or two of her sermons. People complained that she was not feeding or leading them. She led me back to the fold and she fed me.Through her, God set me back on my feet. In the end the people on the committees and the people with clout voted. And due to the tyranny of democracy, she was voted away. Before she really had a chance. I was angry and upset. How could I stay in a group of churches with people I disagreed with so profoundly? I wrote in anger and distress to the Chairman of the District. He agreed to meet me. He spoke to her. We thought she was alright. She tried a different way. She tried to become a leader in the Anglican Church. This failed. She told me her heart wasn’t in it. She was a Methodist. She was out of work. She had no money. She moved away and tried to set up her own business of photography and walking dogs. I lost touch. She had a website and I tried to contact her through that. I still thought she was OK. This week I learnt that she wasn’t. She went missing. Nobody knew where she was including her family. They found her abandoned home. Her dogs were dead. They were her life’s joy, her family who she felt responsible for.I shuddered when I heard that. Finally she turned up at a Methodist church. God would not let her go. I feel so sad. She is heart broken. I don’t know how to go and see her. I don’t know the best way. How can I forgive myself for letting her down and not realising she was in trouble? How can I forgive the churches over again for our cruelty? I decided it was fear that forced her out. Fear, because we are struggling, elderly churches in a secular society and many are closing. Here, we are a dying church-literally. Yet, this week, I don’t care. if we can’t look after our own, we deserve to die.This is why I feel so very sad. Julia

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    • Julia, as always you write so simply the power of this narrative has great emotion and power.
      I have seen families torn apart, and I have seen church committees endlessly debate what seems a distraction, and I remember your response to my “corporate church” comments.
      Yet I read something different in your words. One relationship, two people, and mutual respect and affection: “I don’t know, how can I, and – for one week only – I don’t …”

      You will know your heart and your own way.
      My way is to connect as a real person. The same real person they saw in me. The same person I was and am. Not to fix, to save, nor to be the solution. Simply to say “I care – you are not alone” – just as she did. To ignore whether it is right, whether it will help, whether it will even be received as I hope.
      Every time I have been empty, one person has touched me. Always just one. Always a “different one”. And always that has allowed me to hear the birds sing, the breeze on my face, the healing to begin.
      And with hindsight, not one of them fixed me. I did. But just as a blazing fire needs a spark – I needed a spark. One tiny fleeting spark. Sometimes many sparks.

      You will know heart and your own way.
      We are each a spark for someone else.
      Not one of my “sparks” knew they were.

      As for “church” – maybe the same is true in that relationship. Maybe.

      ((hugs))

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the hugs. Yes, there is something different in my words. I feel bad, ashamed, guilty even, and that I have let my friend down. I am such a slow learner. Already these past two years, a learnt of two single friends who had died prematurely, and I learnt of their deaths some time after they had died. They lived miles from me, but certainly with the second friend, I could have got in touch with her before she died, and instead rang her father a month after her death to discover I was too late. And now with this friend. She came into my thoughts on several occasions. I made one or two feeble attempts to contact her. I gave up easily. I was too busy and pre-occupied. I tried to ring her today. Her phone was unavailable, as I suspected it would be. When she goes to ground, she truly goes to ground. However I have contacted another mutual friend and tomorrow in Church we will ask the Minister how we can reach her, by writing or visiting. I remember the last time we visited her, how hospitable she was, how thrilled she was that we liked her two large dogs, how healthy they were and well looked after, and how gentle they were and obedient to her instruction. God and her dogs were her world. I cannot imagine how she is coping without them.
        Julia

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      • Your words touch me deeply. That deep desire to save and repair and heal.

        And yet … I think I am learning that I never can. I think I am learning that all I might ever be is a spark. A tiny flash that just might – if the time is right, the place is right – spark something in the other. If their tinder is in place, not too damp, not too much wind, at a time they wish to be aflame.
        I look deep within and see such sparks in my life. None ever healed me. I did that with myself and with Him.
        And when I look back at the sparks in my life – not one has been the only spark, nor (in almost every case) a spark more than once.
        The pain of not being that spark for another never goes away.

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  4. Julia, it is truly sad when a church or body of believers cannot come alongside a child of God. You are right – when fear drives decision making, no one is served, least of all Christ’s sheep seeking a shepherd. Thankfully, God is holding onto her; if he is doing that, he will heal her heart.

    Too many “churches” have drifted away from the love of Christ. When he walked the earth, he brought love, compassion and acceptance to outcasts. While the definition of cultural outcasts has changed, Jesus’ heart has not. While many churches point fingers and judge, the only people Jesus pointed fingers at were those who held themselves above the outcasts.

    We must remember two things, Julia: 1) Jesus’ church is not a building. His church is a body of believers who carry his message of love forward. Church is the heart of Jesus, wherever we walk, whether it is in our homes, on the street or an online community. 2) We also cannot turn our backs on those who do the wrong thing in Jesus’ name. Instead of becoming resentful and allowing the enemy to plant hate in our hearts, we must pray for these folks who allow fear to lead their lives. They do not see clearly; they have allowed the enemy to blind them to Christ’s love. If Jesus can pray forgiveness for those who crucified him, we must pray forgiveness for those whose hearts have hardened in fear. They may yet come around.

    That doesn’t mean we continue to attend Sunday after Sunday; it simply means we find our own communities. We let the light of Jesus shine through us onto others who need him. We let God’s peace and grace flow through us. We accept his love, peace and grace for ourselves so we can give it away freely. We tell the Truth about his everlasting love – that it is here for all of us, especially the outcasts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I once heard an inspirational talk from Mike Yaconelli entitled: “Conspiracy of grace”. I have it on tape, I liked it so much. At one point he talked about “The Parable of the Great Banquet” (Luke 15:15-23).
      He describes the man inviting all the important guests when all of a sudden, at the very last minute, the can’t go. They’re too busy with a bunch of feeble excuses lined up. So then he asks his servants to invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame. Yet there is still more room. So the servants go out into the country lanes and drag more people in. “What are you doing? “Nothing!” “Well, come with me”. This parable, says Mike Yaconelli, is the parable of the Church. “This hodge-potch group of people who weren’t invited in the first place but ended up showing up! Not the fancy, neat, rich, powerful people who were all too busy. None of them would come. We ended up there. We are the Church. Us, the misfits. And this is the conspiracy of Grace”.
      I agree with you that Church is as much outside as within walls of a building and as long as there is a Christian presence I am not much bothered about the building. I also think there is no such thing a s a perfect Church as we imperfect people are in it. Some time ago I had a profound personal experience which demonstrated to me how much God loves the broken Church. One day I hope to share this on my Blog.
      When I first expressed my discomfort and distress at the Circuit’s decision to eject the lady Minister, the Chair of the District encouraged me to set up a small group. To my own surprise I did and I ministered to those very people with whom I disagreed. I learnt about them and their own aching hearts. For awhile I gained confidence and blossomed and thrived in the Church. The sad news of my friend has stopped me up short. I cannot thrive if she is not thriving. We need each other to be whole in order for us all to be made whole.(does that make sense?)
      I hope you get to see this comment. I wasn’t sure whether to put it on Paul’s blog or your own. Perhaps I wanted you both to see it as it is a kind of three way conversation. Thank you for your considered and thoughtful reply.
      All the best, Julia

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      • Julia – I am sure Susan will be back here to add her thoughts. But your comment: “We need each other to be whole in order for us all to be made whole.” caught my attention.
        Because I wonder if none of us are ever whole, and it is only through each other bringing our partial wholeness that we make up a corporate whole (thinking out loud here). Like a box of jigsaw pieces, none of us is the jigsaw – but all together – some fitting perfectly to another – others not – we make the jigsaw.
        I pray your thriving is dependant on the box of jigsaw pieces and the architect of the box and all within. Because even two perfectly fitting pieces do not make the whole (still thinking out loud and wondering if this is becoming opinionated).
        The community and communion of us drawing together with Him at the centre is what makes me as whole as I can be. It is where the loves washes back and forth, the acceptance ebbs and flows, the differences become similarities and then differences again.
        I pray your blossoming continues. For (deep breath and I hope this lands gently) your friend’s pain has been in parallel to your blossoming. Simply by now knowing of her pain – does that change your flowering, your fragrance, your confidence? I hope not. I hope your strength is enough for both of you.

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        • Thank you for both your comments Paul. I will continue to ponder them. My friend was happy for me to blossom. She was unselfish in that respect. And about being the spark. I have only ever considered myself as a support, someone who is willing to listen and stand alongside, a fellow pilgrim along the way. I cannot provide the answers, only the person themselves can by facing their fear and their pain and being held safe within the palm of God and enveloped in His amazing love. Good night and sleep well. And thank you for the conversation.

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        • Thank you. I do and I will. Another friend was saying she was not in such a good place today. I wondered if you would know Mike Yaconelli. As Paul on this blog might say, he was a spark for me when I needed it. One of the many times I can think of sparks in my life.I heard the other side of the story today of the friend who went missing. Like you might imagine it was different from the way my missing friend saw it. Which is the truth and the reality? It is hard to say-perhaps somewhere down the middle. As I said with Paul, thanks for this conversation. Julia

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  5. This is amazingly, wonderful, super fantastical! I am so glad I back stepped and found it. I grew up with an alcoholic abusive father. Fear was drilled into me. It’s a terrible way to go through life which is really no life at all. Step by step He is setting me free. I am even getting kind of macho. LOL. Blessings!

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    • Hiya Denine – Susan put down some words I think speak to many of us.

      “Step by step He is setting me free” – beautiful! And I think many of us find the same. No matter our background, culture of upbringing – being set free (in the way He invites) to connect (in the way he desires to connect) with no fear at all (in the way He has none) – I think all of us find that s step by step process. 🙂

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