During the many years I lived alone. I had the habit of leaving a spare key with someone trustworthy, who could come over in an emergency. The concept of “locking” often fascinates me or even perhaps scares me. We lock doors (and windows) – from the bathroom to the front door to .. well the list goes on and on.. to protect ourselves from harm, danger and also intruders! Does this same locked door that offers us “protection” also have the ability to lock us in and thus trap us where we can’t get out during an emergency?
Our own “wise” acts of protection and safety do have the potential to lock us in. This is not in just the physical realm but also in the emotional and spiritual realms too. Many people develop fears from their past experiences and exposures. I recall my mum only wanting to display her affection when I was asleep or rather when she thought I was asleep – I often feigned sleep for those moments… She had lost her parents when she was 10, so she was scared that I may not be able to survive after she dies if I get used to the affection. Likewise, so many other scenarios lead people to develop a fear for love. For example, guys who have grown up with critical or possessive mothers tend to assume that all women are critical or possessive. Girls who have been abused as a child tend to not be able to trust men. Females who have had experiences of guys lusting after their bodies, think that all men want their bodies only not their hearts. They then stay away from relationships out of fear of getting hurt. (The dynamics of abuse do take place as a viscous cycle unless awareness is brought about and broken).
These fears cripple us in various areas but especially in the area of relationships…People then LOCK themselves in… and lock others out. Yet love is what can set us free releasing us from the bondage in the other areas too.
“We are wired for love, we learn fear”
– Dr. Caroline Leaf https://www.facebook.com/drleaf?fref=ts
If we didn’t have the capacity or potential to love, God would not command us to love Him with our ALL nor would He have commanded us to love one another as ourselves. If it is a commandment, then it means it isn’t about emotions but rather a decision.
We can DECIDE whether we want to let our fears PARALYSE us,
or we can DECIDE whether we want to allow God to work in us and through us
to make us His vessels of love.
We can allow our fears to keep us locked in and others locked out – hence to avoid loving others and to prevent honest relationships. That is a choice we have. Yet we need to remember that doing so, is hence disobeying God as God COMMANDS us to love… Proverbs gives us a warning:
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe – Proverbs 29:25
We can choose to let fear of man to prevent us from loving God and to love others… we can avoid meaningful committed sacrificial relationships, but that is then an indicator as to where we stand with God. Being a believer doesn’t mean confessing to believe in Jesus Christ. The acid test of being a believer is the quality of our relationships with God and one another.
.. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother – 1 John 4:18-221
Another thing that keeps us locked in while keeping others locked out is legalism – being bound by law. We have our do’s and don’ts and our rights and wrongs.. and if what others do, doesn’t fall in line with our ‘values’ then we push them away… Law defines us and keeps us boxed in. If we are indeed grateful that God has reached out to us with grace we will automatically extend that to others…
….. because you are not under law, but under grace – Romans 6:14
The Pharisees were self righteous. Instead of reaching out to the sinners and loving them, the Pharisees shunned them. Jesus Christ didn’t hesitate to condemn the Pharisees for their hypocrisy which stemmed out of legalism. He openly rebuked them. In fact, Jesus warned the people in His sermon on the mount:
For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven – Matthew 5:20
Jesus’ response to those who were throwing stones at the woman caught in adultery rendered them speechless… they had no other option but set aside the stones and walk away. It is really crucial to remember how God has lifted us up and how He has carried us through delivering us from our mistakes – both intentional and unintentional, covering us by His grace through all the negative experiences – what we did and what others did to us. If we were truly a grateful people to this nature and love of God, wouldn’t we extend that to others? Would we then still be bound in a box of legalism?
Let’s remember Jesus’ words… and put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and try to empathise with them…
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you – Matthew 7:12.
Remember what we sow is what we reap… If we want to “punish” others based on “law”, we ourselves will be subject to that same punishment in time to come… God tells us that the measures we use is the measures that will be used for us.
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you – Matthew 7:2
“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you–and even more – Mark 4:24
Let’s yield to the Holy Spirit and allow God to convict us of areas where we need healing or deliverance from our fears and from legalism so that from our love for each other we can be known as His disciples.