There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18
Ruthie and I use this verse often in our marriage and general-relationship seminars. The Greek word translated “love” in this verse is the word “agape,” which is based on actions and attitudes that build another up. Allow me to paraphrase this verse in a way I often do in my teaching and counseling:
If I love you,
and if you love me,
there is no need to walk on eggshells
afraid of offending each other.
If our relationship is based on agape,
then neither of us need walk cautiously with each other
careful of stepping on landmines—
trigger points that destroy our intimacy
and relational peace.
If our love is mature—complete—
we need not bury
the healthy honesty and transparency with each other
that our relationship deserves
fearing hurt or defense.
This kind of fear is poisonous to a relationship.
It is based on self-centeredness,
or ignorance of the true way
that agape works.
When we embrace perfect love,
loving as Christ loved,
living primarily for the best in each other,
submitted to the One Who IS love,
we will not allow the dividing power of fear
ruin what God created to be glorious.
We will eradicate any trace of it!
So, you whom I love,
Let us be complete in Him.
Let us break our agreement with these childish behaviors and attitudes.
Let us agree with the unfailing—and fearless—nature