Many believe that the opposite of fear is bravery. But according to Scripture, the opposite of fear is love (1 John 4:18).
Here's why. To love is to know. And in the Biblical sense, to know is experiential. It's not merely an intellectual exercise; an accumulation of facts. To know is to have an intimate familiarity with another's inner being.
Also, the Greatest Commandment tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matthew 22: 36-37). This means we need to have a deep sense of self-awareness and self-love. Not a false image of having no flaws. But an ability to recognize one's inner worth.
So, if we know ourselves and know others, and if we love ourselves and love others in the same manner, then how can we fear?
I believe that much of the racial divisions and gender oppression in our country stem from fear. I am not sure if we really love ourselves rightly. Because we're having so much difficulty loving others.
And of course, the first part of the Greatest Commandment says to love God with all of our being. In short, to love God completely, intimately, and deeply. Furthermore, we are warned that we can't love God and yet hate our neighbor (1 John 4: 20).
How is loving God being modeled for us? How is God's love for us being demonstrated? How can we develop deeper self-understanding? How can we truly come to know our neighbor?
These are pertinent questions for us today, and I don't pretend to have all the answers.
What I do endeavor is to remember that perfect love casts out fear. The opposite of fear is love. The opposite of hatred is affection. And the opposite of contempt is adoration. What I know is: God is love (1 John 4: 16).
Can I love and not shame or disrespect others (1 Cor. 13: 5, TPT)? Can I find affection rather than jealousy towards others (1 Cor. 13: 4, TPT)? Can I joyously celebrate the gift another is to the world, by God's intention, rather than hold contempt toward them because they're different (1 Cor. 13: 6, TPT)?
By the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the indwelling of Christ-yes we can.
In and With Grace,