What does John mean when he says, ‘fear is driven out by perfect love?’ Let us try to look at this question in our reflection today. What is fear? I think that at the basis of any understanding of fear is a lack of trust in the person or situation. That is, I am not sure whether my interests in this situation are going to be met satisfactorily. Thus fear can be perceived as a lack of trust in a person or set of circumstances.

I think that this understanding of fear is helpful in trying to discern what John is saying to us. He tells us that perfect love drives out all fear. This is so because the knowledge and experience of perfect love serves to ensure a person that their interests are going to be satisfied. That is, when I know someone loves me, I can be sure that they will take into account my cares and considerations regarding any issues that affect us. It could be said, in other words, that I totally trust that person to look after my interests in any given situation! Thus, I have no reason to fear my relationship with them!

John goes so far as to tell us that the experience of the perfect love of God will drive away even the fear of judgment! This is a wonderful promise as there is little else more daunting in life than awaiting the Day of Judgment that will come to us all. We do not need to fear it any more because we can be sure that Jesus has our best interests at heart. However, this is not to say that Jesus’ judgment will be positive no matter how we live our lives! It is to say, though, that if we allow God’s love to work in our lives on a consistent basis we CAN BE SURE that He will bring us to perfection to the point that we will be able to stand before Him on judgment day with the sure knowledge that we will be saved!

Thank you Jesus for all the work that you are doing in me to bring me to salvation. Thank you for the sure knowledge of my salvation if only I allow your love to transform me into your image.

Lord Jesus, continue to pour into my life the love that drives away all fear. Help me to open my heart more fully to you so that you will be able to complete in me the work that you have begun so that I will spend eternity with you.