last week we began the discussion of what destroys and what builds relationships. If you have not had a chance to read last week’s post, be sure to check it out.
Proverbs 29:25 tells us that “the fear of human opinion disables”. Insecurity plagues and destroys our relationships. The fear we have of others opinions causes us to be controlling or passive (both of which hurt our relationships). We long to be close to others, to establish relationships. Yet, we fear the intimacy required to create relationships. We fear the exposure that comes with intimacy. Many times we hide ourselves, fearing the exposure will bring shame. In Genesis 3:10 Adam says, “I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” We cover up. We wear masks and we pretend to be people we are not. We also fear rejection. Rejection is painful so we avoid the closeness that might bring rejection. This results in not knowing people on a deep level and others not really knowing you. Ultimately, you’re old and lonely.
People respond to these insecurities in different ways. Some get away. Whether it’s physically or emotionally, they are superficially avoidant or totally gone altogether. Others push you away. They become so obnoxious that you want to leave. Still others do the very thing that causes us to reject them so they can blame us for their rejection. A common way churchgoers deal with their fear of rejection is to be soooo soooo nice to people that they think, “Who in their right mind would reject a nice person like me!?” These folks are really angry when they figure out they cannot please enough people to feel good about themselves.
While insecurity destroys relationships, love builds them.
“Love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid… it shows that his love has not been perfected in us.” John 4:18
How does love expel fear? The word literally can be translated to mean, “sweeps it out the door.” Love takes the focus off of you and puts it on someone else. In doing so, it expels our insecurities and fears. I experience this very thing often as I get on stage to preach. The only way I have found it possible to not be anxious about preaching is by caring more about people’s growing spiritually than my fears or insecurities about speaking.
The question is: how do we find the power to focus on other people? We do this by realizing how much God loves us. The moment we realize how much God loves us, we begin to worry less about measuring up to some superficial standard or pretending to be something to win someone’s approval or acceptance. Where would you like to base your sense of worth and value? On the One who made you or on changing standards created by other human beings?
“All who proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them… We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. God is love… And as we live in God,our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid…” 1 John 5:15-17
The word “grows” reminds us that this is a process. You will not become a completed project of God’s this side of heaven. We spend a lifetime growing and changing, little by little.