Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fear of Love

The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear--fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. --Henry Mencken 

Perfect love casts out all fear. –St John

So what is it that causes so many of us to choose to live without love, or at least to live with so little of it, anyway? We play around the edges, we flirt with it, and we think about it. We want to give and receive love but “When Love Comes to Town” (BB King) it’s off to the Shadow Lands.

Too costly
Too dangerous
Too demanding
Too painful
Too, too, too

This is why so many people live out of fear, rather than love. Look at what drives and informs so many of our decisions: fear of rejection, fear of pain, fear of exposure, fear of not fitting in, fear of losing, fear of being wrong, fear of doing wrong, fear of being laughed at, fear of failure, fear of not being enough, here a fear, there a fear, everywhere a fear, fear. Here we are, created by and for love, choosing to live in fear, or at least choosing to keep our distance from an all-out-love for God, others, and for life. What’s up with that?

Yet each man kills the thing he loves

By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold;
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.
--Oscar Wilde, Ballad of Reading Jail

People kill love with bitterness, manipulative flattery, cowardice, or betrayal. He killed love when he was old; she murdered love when she was young. Some drowned love in lust, some with religion. Some strangled love to death because it got in the way of the pursuit of gold. And all were driven by fear.

If we could only see that the consequences of fear are far more costly than the risks of love. Fear robs and destroys. Opening our hearts to giving and receiving love enriches and enlivens.  As fear is self-centered and self-protective, it constricts our souls and, thereby, diminishes us. Love opens our souls to God, life, and others, and, in so doing, leads to our becoming the human that God created us to become.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2013

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