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20 January 2008

Perfect Love and the Boogeyman

I remember lying in bed at night as a small boy, the covers pulled over my head, scared to death of whatever it was that I was scared of when the lights went out. On those nights I sometimes wondered how "perfect love" could cast out "all fear," because in the pitch-blackness 1 John 4:18 never really seemed to work for me.

I didn't know that fear of the dark was not really what John was talking about.

One aspect of grace is our ability or willingness to overlook what we consider to be another's faults. I believe that one of the reasons we don't do this as a matter of course is that we're afraid that carte blanche forgiveness will come back to haunt us. This is one "feature" of growing older that is a helpful defense mechanism at times, but applying it across the board will have us acting in opposition to the Word.

If my friend Fred does something that I believe is a bad thing, it is my job to forgive him if he's personally offended me and asks me for forgiveness, even if I prefer to assume he's being disingenuous about his repentance. The biggest factor in my hesitation to forgive people, or to overlook their faults, is that I often assume that their motives are less than pure, and underneath that lies the fact that I'm afraid they'll just do the same thing all over again.

This is one of the types of fear that I've seen diminish in the face of love. As Christ-followers, we are not allowed the liberty to hold onto frustration, anger, or hate.


Pam M said...

My husband and I had this discussion not long ago. He said something that made so much sense to me and has helped with me not becoming frustrated with people. He explained that I was upset with him because I had assumed a motive behind an action of his. In reality the assumption was wrong. Now I find that usually if someone frustrates me it 1 of 2 reasons. A) I've assumed a motivation that may not be correct or B) The peron's faults I can so easily see are actually ones that I posess.

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