“There is no fear in love. Instead, perfect love drives away fear. That’s because fear has to do with being punished. The one who fears does not have perfect love.” 1 John 4:18 (NIRV)
Perfect love, God’s love, expels all fear! John says,
“If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.” 1 John 4:18 (NLT)
When I experience God’s love, I am no longer afraid! Because Christ gave His life as a substitute for mine on the cross, He took my punishment for sin. When I receive Him as my Savior from sin, His love makes me whole and drives out any fear of punishment or condemnation.
His love enables me to cut the destructive strings of fear in loving others as well. I can love them as He does. But, what about conflict? What do you do when relationships experience conflict and love is challenged? You don’t feel like loving. Those loving feelings get replaced with hurt, anger or disappointment. Fear can creep in and threaten the love we thought was once there. Or we can be afraid of risking love again after it’s been rejected. How can we keep the storms of life from shipwrecking His love in us? Here are two helpful tips for keeping love alive when conflicts and disappointments inevitably come.
First, don’t take it out on each other; instead, talk it out with each other. Attack the issue, not the other person. Avoid using threats or the “D” word. Those who never threaten divorce seldom get divorced. Replace accusing “you” statements with “I feel…” In Ephesians 4:15, the Bible says we should speak the truth in love. But, how do we do that? In verse 29 it says,
“Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.” (GNT)
If your love has been threatened by conflict, hurt or disappointment, don’t clam up. Cut the destructive strings of fear and speak the truth in love.
Secondly, don’t take it out on each other; instead, take it to the Lord. When Peter found himself surrounded by the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. His experience offers us a practical and effective example for what to do when the storms of life threaten to sink our love. The Bible says he cried out,
“Save me, LORD!” Matthew 14:30 (NLT)
Jesus responds to the simplest and most honest prayers. Instead of taking out your hurt or anger on one another, why not try taking it to the Lord. Like Peter, you will feel His hand reaching out to you, to lift you up, replacing fear with His love.