Love Without Fear

It is important to create an atmosphere of honesty, confession and repentance for a community to be healthy. My experience and the experience of many is that even though repentance is encouraged, it is at the same time discouraged because of the possible repercussions that follow.

We have a choice: either encourage honesty and live compassionately in the midst of that; or encourage pretense and live severely in the midst of that. I see no other options. If you choose the first one, guaranteed things will be messy but genuine. If you choose the last one guaranteed things will be tidy but superficial.

Until I become honest with and accepting of myself, I can never become honest with or accepting of others. This is why we must start with ourselves in order to create this community of authenticity, where there is love without fear.

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  • sarah

    Messy and genuine any day of the week.

    Here’s to a life without fear. And to relationships with our brothers and sisters (and everyone else) without fear.

    Sas x

  • fishon

    You wrote: “Until I become honest with and accepting of myself….”
    —–I am honest and accepting of my self.

  • Steve

    I guess if I were to be really honest about it, I’d have to say that I’m not always honest and accepting of myself, or my neighbor.

    I guess when it comes to myself and my neighbor, I’ve got a lot of work to do.

    When it comes to my Lord, it’s not my worst that I should worry about, but my best.
    For it’s not good enough either.

    Thanks be to God that He has chosen to forgive me, not in spite of myself, not out of a sense of obligation, but because He has chosen to do so.

    And now I am free to love my neighbor and do all manner of good…or not!

    That’s the glory of the Gospel!

  • Ruth

    My experience is that church leaders can’t handle the truth. They freeze, then avoid you. It is so much easier to have a tidy little pious congregation than deal with the messiness of real human problems. Not that I should criticize because I’m only human myself. I think you have a lovely ideal, though.

  • Kim

    I agree with you that its something to strive for. And last week I sang the merits of staying where you are and making change. After a very bruising and painful church meeting last night, where vested interests won the day, now i say run for the hills and find a cave. I hope and pray that one day i will come across a place like Dave is creating.

  • amen brother soul…a comunity that can enter into that kind of communitas is truly a sign of the kingdom

  • love without fear…wow, fearing god more than others…could be tough to implement.

  • typo on our blog link… 🙂

  • I just finished reading “Messy Spirituality” by Mike Yaconelli and loved it. Sign me up for messy anytime.

  • Thanks-
    …a mess is seen as failure. a mess isn’t a good testimonial. a mess isn’t happy. a mess is the enemy of a “good” church (tongue firmly planted in cheek). the mess of wading through repentance (& its aftermath) requires that we embrace process & longterm relationship. and it does start with me.

  • Good points David…responsibility begins with us.

  • Accepting and loving yourself first. Abso-feaking-luety. To often in christian circles you are told how worthless you are without God. So the sense is you are not a good and decent person. That persona is perpetuated by 95% of churches out there. But God made you the way you are supposed to be, accept that, and then learn to love yourself, because you are the way God wants you to be.

  • Chris F

    If I do not accept myself, I will be at war with myself, tense, unhappy, driven – in which state of heart I am much more likely to do the very thing I am trying to overcome.
    If I do accept myself, seeing myself as I am rather than as I wish I was, I will see things that I will weep over, but acknowledge my helplessness, give up on the holiness project and gratefully depend on grace – I am less likely to do the things I wish were different.
    The collect for ash weds is helpful here – …create in us new and contrite hearts, that, lamenting our sin and acknowledging our wretchedness (=helpless to do it ourselves), we may receive from you, the God of all mercy, perfect forgiveness and peace, through our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s God’s work to put the new heart in.
    And I might just be able to let God do the changing in my neighbour too, knowing she/he is in the same mess I’m in!

  • “I am honest and accepting of my self” (Fishon)

    Are you honest and accepting of others?

  • fishon

    Might be to late in finding your post here, but I will reply.

    I need to understand your definition of “accepting” before I answer that.

    I strongly suspect that we differ greatly as to meaning of ‘accepting.’ That is based on our communication in your blog.