Parenting without Fear

The Bible is so clear about the relationship of Love and fear as opposites: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 5:18) It doesn’t get much more straightforward than that! If these two (fear and Love) are polar opposites then they really have nothing in common at all. You could think of them as being on opposite ends of the same line segment, or spectrum. MBE was fond of the phrase “to the degree”, and we can easily see that “to the degree” that we are fearful, we are not loving, and vice versa: to the degree that we are loving, we are not fearful.

Why is it then that we are so often confronted with the temptation to be fearful for our children when what we really mean to express and reflect toward our children is Love?

My children have recently taken up biking as a hobby. Not your run of the mill, ride-around-the-park-on-a-beautiful-day sort of biking, though, my kids take a chairlift up a couple of thousand feet on Whistler Mountain and ride down “trails” that contain jumps of 25 or 30 feet, drops off of cliffs, riding over boulders, and along incredibly skinny bridges built high in the trees. To me it looks almost impossible. I watch the videos and they take my breath away. And I’m no arm-chair athlete!

Something interesting occurred in my thought as I was watching these videos though: If I was watching my own children, I was fearful, but when I watch other people I am just in awe of their ability, I’m not afraid for them. Why is that?!? I think it is because we are trained and taught to blend fear into our love when we care for our children. Our collective message is,”I love you therefore I fear for you.” Whoa. How is this possible if fear and Love are exact opposites?

Well, it is NOT possible from God’s perspective. Only a mistaken, mortal mind could confuse fear and Love. And if we are really listening to God’s perfect parenting advice, we will not be confused. We will make the firm separation of fear from Love and we can eliminate the fear in our thinking from our reflection of God’s love for them and for us.

How much more complete will our love for children be if we love them as God loves them, without any fear at all! How much better would we all rest at night if we could eliminate all the burden and responsibility and fear that we have been taught are inherent to being a good parent? How liberating!

Children of the world, be free of our fears!

(But please wear a helmet when you practice your back-flips!)