1 John 14:18 (ESV)
18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
These verses speak to two different kinds of fear. One fear is born in love and produces respect, reverence and recognition of authority. This kind of fear evokes a feeling of understanding. For if we love and fear God then we understand how we may have done wrong and out of love for God we are willing to make amends. I liken this to speaking out of turn in a courtroom and the judge asks you to refrain from an outburst. If you have love in your heart then hopefully you respect the judge enough to say, �Yes, Your Honor, I�m sorry and it won�t happen again.�
The other fear I want to mention evokes the emotion of being afraid. If we don�t understand God� love for us then we become afraid fearing God might punish us for our wrongs. When we are afraid we want to protect and strike back if necessary. We end up with dismal apprehensions of God. We do not see God as one who corrects and disciplines, but instead we see a God who punishes.
In love God gave His son Jesus to be among us. Through Jesus we are able to observe God�s intent for our lives. Jesus showed us that God is caring, healing, redemptive, reconciling, and most of all loving. Jesus came so that we might be restored to our full humanity without sin. If we love and understand God then we should see a God who is more interested in our well-being; who wants to bless us and not punish us; and who is inclined to raise us up instead of putting us down.
In the evenings I have been watching Dr. Drew on HLN with my wife as his show reports on the Jodi Arias trial. If you don�t know who Jodi Arias is � she was charged for the brutal murder of Travis Alexander who she called her boyfriend. Yet as my wife and I have watched this trial and listened to the experts on Dr. Drew HLN it becomes apparent this was a warped and volatile relationship. She says she was often in fear of being rejected, being abandoned, of being hurt. In other words she was afraid.
Remember what The Apostle John stated above. Perfect love casts out fear (being afraid). Obviously this relationship was not built on perfect love. It was a relationship that seems to have twisted the meaning of love. Even in testimony yesterday she still admits to loving the murdered man, but just not in the same way. Obviously she doesn�t understand the true meaning of love.
In Jeremiah 29:11 God plainly says, �For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.� God�s perfect love has good intentions towards us. There is no need to be afraid of God for God is perfect love and His intents for us are good.
We all need to remember what true love is and live our lives in that manner. If we are living correctly others may fear us, but they fear us in respect and not because they are afraid of whom we are.