It Is Better To Be Feared Than To Be Loved
I told Ed that I was researching the relationship between fear and Love. I have the challenge to teach about fearing and loving God. We used to say fear, and love are meant to go together in our relationship with God. Today folks tend to fear many things and people but perhaps not God. Is the fear of God, labeled, a negative attitude now?
Ed, my old friend, said that it is better to be feared than to be loved. He believes that if you are feared people won’t take advantage of you, but they will if people love you. The question for me is this: “Does fear cancel out love, or love cancel out fear?” It seems to me that most of us have fears both slight and troubling in our minds. We may be reluctant to talk about them unless they seem to be normal among other people as well.
Ed offered that people are not quick to talk about what they fear. He contends that to admit to fear seems to make a person weak or cowardly. He believes that everyone agrees that cancer is a threatening disease because of its power to kill, but we only really fear it if we are diagnosed with it. Once diagnosed we may be reluctant to say that it scares us.
Fear is a distressing feeling that someone or something is dangerous, threatening or able to cause one harm or pain. A good number of people have a fear of: flying, public speaking, heights, the dark, spiders, dentists, etc. Fears challenge us to ignore them, nurse them, or face them and deal with them. They may give us a healthy respect for what we need to deal with wisely.
Folks once understood that fear of God meant a sign of respect for the power and authority of God to both fully bless or harm us. It is right to fear or reverence God as the greatest of all and worthy of respect and honor because all things including our lives are in his hands. It seems today it is hard for many to see God as a force to reckoned with.
Love in the Bible is centered in God who is love. God’s love is more significant than our love as it is pure and sinless. Fear of God is meant to lead us to God’s love which is for those who see God as both all powerful and all loving. God sent Jesus his Son into the world that we might have confidence that God loves us. God’s perfect love for sinners in Jesus Christ is meant to cast out fear of God in us. God does not want to punish us but perfect us in the love of Christ.
The Bible says it this way, “In this, the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation (ransom/satisfaction) for our sins. If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. To fear and love God, we love one another.”