1 John 4:18 (NIV)
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Love considers God as most eminently good, and most eminently loving us in Christ, and so puts off dread, and puts on joy in him; and, as love grows, joy grows too; so that perfect love casteth out fear or dread. [Matthew Henry Commentary]
The Huffington Post ran a beautiful story about a church in Honolulu called Bluewater Mission. This small church started a restaurant called Seed, which gives people a second chance at work and at life. The article focused on a woman named Mary Nelson, who started working at Seed last year. It was only the second job the 53-year-old had ever had. At the age of 14, Nelson's mother committed suicide and she started working on the streets of New York City as a prostitute. At the age of 18 she tried to start a new life in Hawaii but she kept working as a prostitute.
Then when she was in her early 50s some Christians at Bluewater Mission persuaded her to leave the streets and try working at Seed. She spent the first six months washing dishes because she wanted to be far away from what she called, the "good people." But after a lot of hard work and love from the people at church Nelsons says, "I get to be the person I was never able to be. I get to help people without someone trying to take advantage of me."
Nelson noted that what she makes in a month at Seed, she used to make in one night on the streets. She had it all: new cars, jewelry, travel, nice condos�though, sometimes, beatings, rape and "so much horror" came with the price. "You can't buy what I'm going through right now," she says. "I never thought that I'd be this person I am now."
Recently, Nelson went with her church on a trip to the Philippines to reach out to prostitutes. She told the reporter, "I want those women to know there's hope. You can change. There are people out there that really want to help and you've got to � believe. Just like you went out there and took a chance on the streets, you've got to take a chance on this as well."
[Adapted from Carla Herreria, "Restaurant In Hawaii Offers Fresh Start For Former Prostitutes, Convicts, Others Who Need A Hand," The Huffington Post (2-28-15)]
Mary Nelson found love in the people who helped her change her life. At first she was fearful that others would judge her or be take advantage of her. Mary then found there was no fear in love; for those around her loved her as God intended.