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Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. It is punishment that makes a person fear, so love is not made perfect in the person who fears. 1 John 4:18 (NCV)

As my children approached the age where they could drive, we made a family rule. It was a simple rule intended to instill the importance of safety, not intended to cause pain or harm. The rule was that if, in the first month of driving on their own, they got a speeding ticket, they would lose driving privileges for one week. I’d get their license and their keys.

One night my daughter was returning from the city with some friends. As she came off the interstate and onto the highway leading home she instinctively hit the cruise control. Within a mile she was back up to the interstate cruising speed. Within a couple more miles she saw the dreaded flashing red lights in her rear view mirror.

The problem was, the interstate speed was too fast for the highway speed. She was given a ticket for speeding. I still remember the night this all happened. She walked into the house license and keys in hand and gave them to me. She then told us what happened (her version of course). In the course of the conversation she mentioned that one of her friends asked if she was afraid to come home and tell me about the ticket. My daughter told her “No, I know what will happen.” That was the end of it.

I wish I could say this was an example of every disciplinary action at our home, but it wasn’t. It does given an example of God’s love though. My daughter knew well in advance of the consequences. There was no yelling or screaming, and there were no surprises. In a love relationship that’s how ‘wrongs’ are handled.

When the Father came looking for Adam and Eve for his evening walk, they hid in the bushes. Why? They were afraid. Did they have reason? Well, they thought they did. However, God certainly wasn’t surprised by their actions. There is no indication in scripture that the interaction between God and the couple was full of anger. He was harsh with the serpent, but he was gentle in handing out the natural consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin.

That first account of sin is a perfect example of love without fear. Even though God handed out consequences, he also handed out healing. When God took away the fig leaves and clothed them with animal skins it was a symbol of taking away the shame and offering emotional healing.

God’s not into punishment. What he is into is doing whatever is necessary to bring us into a loving relationship with him. A loving relationship built on trust, mercy and grace. A relationship that drives out fear and brings peace.

The phrase “Just wait until your father comes home” is sometimes used when punishment is inevitable. But when it comes to your Heavenly Father there is no fear in his return. He loves you. The sin you bear need only be a temporary glitch in the relationship. A glitch that can be forgiven through Jesus. 

PRAYER: Father God, I praise you for your love and patience with me. I thank you for the fact that your love is a love that harbors no fear, no revenge and no anger. Empower me to live free of the lies the enemy tells me about your anger with me. Help me to show love to others the way you have shown love to me. Amen.

 

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