“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).
Everything I want to say about love is easily found in 1 John 4. So I dearly wish I could quote that entire passage here. But since my assignment is to share my own thoughts, allow me to explain why this part of the Bible and its words on love are so vitally important for these particular days. So yes, the love I’m talking about here has little to do with the fourteenth of February, and chocolates and flowers (though those are always nice).
We’ve been riding out a rough spell of months. Attacks in Paris and San Bernardino especially, combined with the current political season the United States finds itself in, are breeding horrific stuff right now. There is so much fear, so much hatred, and it’s growing like an aggressive cancer. This anger and fear, and the vitriol that is being spewed, are sadly not absent from circles of those who profess to follow the greatest Lover of souls: Jesus Christ. We are, after all, flawed human beings, and it’s understandable to have such feelings creep up. But we if call ourselves disciples of Christ, we have to rise to a higher place.
In moments like these, we ask, What would Jesus have us do? If we look at His life on earth, we find our answers. Our Savior would stand on the side of what is right and impart love to a world that so desperately needs it.
So here’s our opportunity. Fight hatred with love. Fight fear with love. Love those others in this world who want us to hate. Don’t give in to the evil the devil wants so desperately to consume us with. Refuse to buy into the viciousness and fan the flames of fear. Refuse to let thoughts that don’t come from Christ settle into your psyche and poison you. Turn it all over to Jesus and allow Him to stir your heart with compassion and unbending trust in Him.
Christ calls us to come to Him and give Him our burdens—especially the burdens of hysteria, panic, and terror. In return, He will give us His peace, His comfort, and His love, all to share with a hurting world that needs it so badly.
This is our moment, as Adventist Christians, to give to the world what the Lord has called us to give: hope in His coming, peace in His promises to care for us, and the love that flows from Him in such abundance. With His help, we can be bold in bringing His goodness to those among us who are persecuted, who are grieving, and even to those spouting hate.
“We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister” (verses 19-21).
Wilona Karimabadi is an assistant editor of Adventist Review.