Many people, even without knowing it, are burdened with psychological consequences that prevent or hinder us from loving others with full freedom because somehow we are afraid to do so.
The Bible, being a book whose main theme is love, has a lot to say about how to overcome the fear to love.
For example, this morning while praying with some friends, I shared with them that one of my favorite characters in the Bible is Paul.
The characteristics that I find most fascinating about him are his determination to give his whole life to God.
Also, his radicalism to put God and the spiritual above all things in his life, and his tenacity to work tirelessly to bring the kingdom of Christ to this earth.
At first glance, my only image of Paul was that of an extremely “manly” man, of a strong temperament, and of a hard and rough cut.
But it is interesting how this very morning as I studied, I stumbled upon seeing how even though he had those characteristics, God’s love had penetrated his heart so deeply that Paul was able to express openly, and unceremoniously, his love for the brethren of the church.
But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.
So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
(…) we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?
| 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, 12-13, 19
The previous verse shows how he felt a deep and special affection for the brothers of Thessalonica.
Paul does not keep it quiet, on the contrary, he lets it be seen all the time in his letter.
He loved them dearly and considered them his children in the faith.
I found it surprising that he spared no words to express that affection for them and make them feel valuable to him and to the kingdom of heaven.
He spared no words of encouragement to them to advance in the ways of the Lord.
In an almost mysterious way, the Holy Spirit had worked in his life in the same way he can work in yours.
Paul was not afraid to love, or to express his love for others because he had taken the antidote to that fear.
The antidote was to accept the unconditionality of God’s love in his life, expressed through Jesus.
If you and I are certain of God’s love, God’s word says that “perfect love casts out fear.”
Moreover, understanding and accepting the way, and the magnitude in which God loves us, makes us understand and accept the way he loves others.
This allows us to and makes it possible for us to love them in the same way.
From Paul’s example, we can understand how important it is, as brothers and friends, to show us the affection and love that God has placed in our hearts for one another.
Both in word and in action.
How important it is to encourage each other to continue to fight in faith and to face the trials of life.
Recognizing the spiritual achievements of our brothers and expressing to them that they are a source of joy for us.
We can also console others and genuinely care about their personal sorrows and struggles.
The human being was created by God to live in society, to relate to each other.
It was created with the need to love and be loved.
The church should be our closest community of friends.
It should be an extension of our family.
A place to express our purest affections and where we feel valued, supported and loved.
If Paul, being Paul, did it, we have no excuse.
With God’s help, today let us go out to express God’s love to all our brothers and friends in Christ.
Let us not spare sincere compliments, nor the words of comfort, encouragement, and appreciation.
For many of our brothers and friends those are going to be the only words of love they will receive throughout the day, week, or month.
May our facts speak to how much we care about others and that we can bring joy and healing to other people’s hearts.
Do you think you are afraid to love and would like to overcome that fear? What is the circumstance you are going through? Let us know in the comments.