I have a vivid memory of Mom locking me outside our home.
I was five years old at the most.
I remember pounding on the door with my fists crying that I was sorry, begging for Mom to let me in.
My greatest fear came from feeling rejected and unprotected by the security provided by my parents and home.
We all want security.
Often the desire for security is met by being part of a group of people. We all have a strong desire to belong. We crave connection.
Alone we are vulnerable.
Alone, with no group to welcome us in, it’s common to feel afraid. Fear is a powerful motivator.
I don’t remember when, but I know Mom did let me back inside. I don’t remember what I did to get locked out of my home. I’m sure I did something wrong. I do remember how afraid I felt. I’m sure that fear motivated me to avoid stepping out of line for while, at least.
But living in fear is no way to live.
Fear has a way of costing us more than we get in return.
In search of security, connection and belonging many couples live together, and some get married. Other people join criminal gangs or religious groups. Too often they discover the fear they sought to escape is the fear that keeps them trapped in an abusive relationship.
The words and ways of a Jesus reveal that the life worth living is a life overflowing with charitable love.
This love costs us everything that seems to matter and gives us everything we need.
And endless supply of life-giving, self-sacrificing love overflows from God’s throne. We receive it by the power of the Holy Spirit and living Word.
The greatest security, strongest connection and deepest sense of belonging one can have is in love. The greatest security, strongest connection and deepest sense of belonging we can offer others is to love them.
In love there is no room for fear. Love and fear can’t occupy the same space at the same time.
Fear doesn’t inspire love. Only love inspires love. And only love enables us to live life to its fullest potential.
Not only do we need love to live life to the fullest. Living life to the fullest includes loving others.
Those who are alone seek love. Love seeks out and connects with those who are alone and invites them to belong.
Jesus did that.
Jesus sought out and connected with Matthew, the Samaritan woman, Zacchaeus, lepers, dead people and many others who were alone. Jesus gave them a place to belong.
Jesus still does that.
Jesus is perfect love in action.
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:16-19, ESV)