“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.”
— Marianne Williamson
There are many things that we can be afraid of. There are also just as many reasons for us to love. Fear will never be completely eradicated on this side of heaven, but there is a chance that we can overwhelm it. Love, pure, unconditional love can put fear on the run.
The events of this life are real. War and terror, sickness and death, inequality and injustice are inevitabilities that we face and will continue to wrestle with. The psychology created by the harshness and brutality of this world makes fear all too real and love seems as unreal as a dream, even non-existent.
What we want and should strive for is not the strength to run from our problems. Not seeking the first ticket out of this world into some paradise that we deem to be far from evil. What we want and should be working for is strength to overcome fear with love. When we love, we push past artificial attitudes and superficial perceptions and guide our lives toward something bigger than ourselves.
Too many people live in secret fear of others. We see people coming toward us and immediately look or turn in the other direction. We develop preconceived ideas about who people are before getting a chance to meet them. We automatically assume things based upon how someone looks, acts, speaks, or talks. This unnatural condition is part of our one-sided and often misunderstood human heritage. It is, however, exaggerated by the way we live our lives.
Fear is an emotion but sometimes we induce fear when we should be practicing love. We bring fear upon ourselves because instead of choosing to love, we choose to fear the very things that make us all human. We forget that no matter where we come from or who we are, we are all children of God because He made us in His image — good, unique, special. And we are here to bear the burdens of another which is impossible to do if we’re afraid of how someone looks.
The heart of the world breaks under an intense load of fear and hate. There is no release from this heavy burden apart from the realization that God is love and He has created us to love. Everything else is meaningless and useless. To expect to combat inequality and injustice without teaching the tenets of love is counterproductive to our goals. We are never relaxed simply because we have taught ourselves to fear and disconnected ourselves from love. Love is love is love and it should not be underestimated.
Love is our natural state. It is the way in which we were born. It is what we naturally do. Find me a baby who is born to fear and hate and I will find you one million babies who are born to love. It is only after we grow up and succumb to the pressures, rejections, and external fears that we forget we’re supposed to grow in love, not grow out of love. When we grow out of love, we replace that space we used to love with, with fear. And fear is a direct path to unhappiness, hate, brutality, inequality, and injustice. It is a part of why we’re quick to judge but slow to understand.
What we need is more childlike faith without the urge to compete with each other for first dibs at everything, far from any inkling of pose and pretense. Fear can’t just be pushed down for it will only rise up in another place. Getting rid of it altogether allows us to experience blessed relief which comes only when we accept ourselves just as we are, and accept others just as they are. It is courage to choose to be love-filled and grace-filled. When we hate, we fear. Hate causes us to turn our heads and look in the other direction so as to avoid encounters of a different nature. Doing so solves no problems, creates no new opportunities, opens no doors, and changes nothing. It produces more of the same.
Aside from our own sinful natures, we have nothing of which we should be ashamed. That should leave us shining equally as bright as the next person. We don’t erase fear and leave it there. We must replace fear with love so that we can be open to the differences that exist in the world, so we can join hands in sincere understanding of each other’s point of view, and so we can see the glory of God in the eyes of another. Stripped from fear, we are free to perfectly and unconditionally love and love and love.
“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun, like struggle.”
— Fred Rogers