1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment (punishment.) He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
I think if, like Solomon, God were to offer me one thing; one gift or ability I would choose the ability to recognize fear. So much of the terrible, foolish and hurtful things we do are driven by fear that we don't recognize.
Anxiety, worry, nervousness, tension and even depression are obviously fear to most of us. But what about selfishness, stubbornness, arrogance and pride? These too are often fear wearing a mask to make itself seem more powerful. Remorse would mean facing something terrifying, I was wrong. And if I was wrong, might I have to make right? I'm afraid of what making right might mean. Walking away from a relationship that isn't Godly. Admitting a weakness that might cost me a position I really want.
Turning in the $20 I found in K-Mart when I might need it later.
Do you notice that fear has torment? In other translations, torment has been changed to punishment. Fear brings punishment or the threat of it. So we run in terror of getting what we deserve and we change into people even we don't recognize trying to hide from what we've got coming. In fear, we insist we didn't do anything wrong so there is no reason for punishment.
In fear that we are not loved, we obnoxiously demand our rights and turn into tantrumming little beasts who ironically become quite difficult to love in the process.
In fear we think how much we really want this________(man? woman? job? house? vacation?) and our fear tells us a punishing God might say no and so, we are too afraid to ask for permission and live instead in defiance.
Afraid that we are not as pretty or smart as the next person, we become hard and appear arrogant and demand that other people acknowledge our worth hoping that we will convince ourselves if we can convince them to convince us.
So I want to recognize fear. I want to become spiritually sensitive to that tiny demonic seed. Yes, I said demonic. I want to know exactly what that horrible liar feels like when he creeps into my spirit and plants fear there. If I know fear is trying to take hold, I can quickly claim victory and all of the ugliness that might have flowed out of my spirit will be immediately changed to grace and peace.
And I want to recognize fear in others. When someone is ugly, I want to rise above defensiveness and self-righteous indignation and plain old offendedness and see the fear that is wrapping itself around the person's mind.
Then I will grab it by its scrawny, lying, sneaky little neck and cast it away...
With Perfect Love, which is usually the very furthest thing from my mind when fear takes the driver's seat and turns another person ugly, I can overcome fear.