There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
— 1 John 4: 18a
In his sermon on Sunday, David implored us to start to heal divides, one relationship at a time. In these turbulent days, though, there can be barriers for all of us that make this challenging. We are so fortunate to live in a very diverse area, so no one should have to look very hard to find someone who is different from them. I suspect our greatest barriers are our attitudes and emotions, and fear seems to be among the dominant ones. I want to cut to the chase: God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (1 Timothy 1:7). We are not people of fear. Period.
So, what are you afraid of? Some are in the trenches, and may actually fear for their lives. Most of us, however, have fears of things that are in no way life-threatening, though they may be “life-as-we-know-it” threatening. As for me, I’m on the cusp of being heavily involved in making the PTA at our son’s school bilingual. We are in a predominantly Hispanic school, and heretofore Hispanic parents have been almost absent in this important parent organization — there is a huge language barrier that has made it almost impossible for them. If we are to live in love, though, we must reach out to the parents who speak another language, and therefore have a terrible time engaging in their children’s schools. Some may want to argue about this whole issue, but my response is that love doesn’t care about the argument; love cares about the people.
This is scary to me, though. It is hard for me to be with people who speak different languages and have different cultures. I don’t dislike them, I just feel uncomfortable. But love says, “So what? I don’t care that you are uncomfortable. Do it anyway!”
I also struggle with pride. I fear being inept and looking like an idiot. For the last seven years, I have been ignoring a call to learn to speak Spanish. If I study and practice Spanish, there is a 100% chance that I will both be inept and look like an idiot. But love says, “So what? I don’t care that you look like an idiot. Do it anyway!”
Love trumps fear. If we are going to build bridges, someone has to go first, and it must be those who are made fearless by love. What are you being called to do toward building love in our community? What are you afraid of? Do it anyway!