Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, a day when people were either celebrating love, yearning for love, or hurting from love.
Like most of us, I have experienced all three of these emotions, which is why when I read the above portion of I John 4:18 in the past, I always interpreted it from the perspective of a human relationship. In other words, I figured that once I had found that “perfect love,” I would be safe, secure, and happy. I would no longer have to experience or be fearful of rejection, insecurity, dysfunction, hurtfulness, or . . . (you add your own specific adjective). But as most of us will attest, even in the most loving of human relationships, we can experience disappointment and pain.
It wasn’t until I went through a very difficult time that I realized that the perfect love being referenced wasn’t human at all, but it was God’s love for us. For God’s perfect love provided a way to avoid His judgment (John 3:16-17). Perfect love made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could have the ultimate gift: eternal life (I Cor. 15:54-55). And once we understand the depth and extent of God’s love, we will realize we do not need to live in fear. We do not need to fear what others might do or say about us (Psalm 118:6) nor do we need to fear our circumstances (Phil. 4:12-13)
We should remember what the apostle Paul said in Romans about the infinite depth and breadth of God's love: 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
Now that should make for a very Happy Valentine’s Day!