The Fear of Love

This was originally posted 4/1/2008


I once posted the following statement:

“Hmmm… Love has done many things, but I have never, until now, heard of it scaring someone…”

The reason I posted it is irrelevant, but it does pose a question; a question that has generated several responses. Evidently, a lot of people seem to think that love is scary.

But is it really?

I think it’s not really love that people fear, but rather the ramifications of this word “love” as well as all of its associations. Love itself is nothing to fear, but there are other words commonly attached to love. Many of these terms bring about many differing emotions. Words like commitment, relationship, expectation, loneliness, control freak, acceptance, self-esteem (or lack thereof), thoughts and feeling of not being good enough or worthy, abandonment, investment, fidelity, marriage, kids, sex, passion, life, death, pain, happiness, embrace, distance, etc.

It’s not really love that is scary. Love is pure and non-abrasive. The Bible records in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a –

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails…”

I think it is not love that frightens people, but the human effect on love that scares people. And, honestly, that is completely understandable. Of course, that is because we, in general, don’t truly grasp this concept fully.

Love was personified in the life, and death, of Jesus Christ, and His love has no contingency or condition. We are so used to things having a price that we don’t actually understand this concept of unconditional love. We think there are strings attached, or some fine print associated, because nothing is free. Love was designed to bring liberation, not bondage. Truly unconditional love requires and expects nothing in return. It loves, and continues to love, despite the disposition of the recipient.

God gave His Son for a group of people who openly rejected Him and His Ways. Jesus bore the weight of the sin of the world for people who spit on Him as He passed by. His love was so pure that despite the opposition He faced, He still did what He knew to do, because His passion, His love, drove Him. That is the personification of love.

Now apply that our own lives. We say we love certain people in our lives, but do we really? Or is there a contingency on our love? I will love them only if they return the love; if they do what I want them to do; if they spend time with me; if they tell me they love me back; if they do this for me; if they buy me things; but only if. It has two sides—our willingness to present love and our response when love is presented to us. We must understand both.

As an ambassador of Christ, I am a representative of love, for God is love. To love is my goal, for I was made to love—without condition, without expectancy, without limitation. The part that gets me is the responses I come across. Some receive it like one who has been in the desert would receive a glass of water. However, the most curious are those who get scared and run away. That is what baffles me. I never knew love could scare someone. But I have a calling to fulfill so all I can do is continue to love; recklessly and without regard. It is my hope that people see my heart and perceive my pure intent.

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