Fear and Punishment...
The nature of punishment is control, and the spirit behind it is fear. But perfect love drives out all fear, fear has to do with punishment, and you've not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love, and self-control.
~Danny Silk, Loving Your Kids on Purpose
I turned on the radio this morning on my 40 minute commute to work and stumbled upon a local church's radio broadcast. The subject was about fear. I settled in thinking this would be good...I struggle with fear sometimes and was ready to hear some good teaching on it. To my shock the first sentence I heard was, "fear is a good thing." I knew right then I was in trouble. It was like watching a car wreck...I just had to keep listening.
"God is pondering you, every word you say, every action you take, tread carefully." The man was making God sound more like the boogeyman than the loving Father I'd come to know. Every verse that he used was an example from the Old Testament. He cited scripture after scripture where God punished whole people groups and then related it to what He'd do to us. It was painful to hear, and I felt for the congregation listening to it.
Because let's face it. Fear actually is a pretty good motivator--that whole external control thing is popular for a reason. It can produce results, but it will never produce connection.
Connection only comes from love.
When we fell out of connection in the garden, God had no choice but to implement external ways of control, until He could make a way for connection to happen again.
That's Jesus--the way back. He took the punishment and provided a way to reconnect through love.
Fear on the other hand, is a cheap and easy counterfeit. It is what drives wedges in marriage, and whole peoples against each other. It feeds wars and politics, separates friends, divides houses. Fear is the very root of disconnection.
So without sounding like a cheesy love song, love is the answer, it's really all we need. Perfect love, the love of a Father, who sent a Son to die to provide a way back home. He's waiting, and most importantly--He's not mad.
There is nothing to fear in Him.