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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)

TITLE: Love...or Acceptance?
By Lisa Holloway


“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 (NIV)

Fear of rejection. Fear of inadequacy. Fear of being laughed at, scorned (eyebrows raised, forehead crinkled, as they roll their eyes at the Jesus freak).

I know they need Jesus like I do; I can see it in the empty projection of confidence. I can see it in his choices, in her lonely reaching, in the dirt on the man with the can held out, in the child so ignored he reaches out to everyone who’ll meet his eyes.

I see it in the frat guy, popular, giving up his soul to be cool while he parties his way into another girl’s room. I see it in the made-up beauty queen dressed like Britney Spears, trading her modesty for a little bit of attention, not caring in that moment that it’s the kind that makes it less and less possible for her to believe a guy can really care about her for herself. I see it in the invisible person at the back of the room—you know, the one who’s beyond shy, the one no one sees.

It’s hard not to fear their reactions, or maybe the finger-pointing toward our own faults (let’s face it; we all have some). Reaching out with the love of God can be intimidating, especially in today’s relativistic culture. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say. Maybe it’s more important to remember to surrender yourself to the work of God, and somehow, some way, He will make something of your willingness.

Love does cast out fear. Look at the person: the annoying ones, the druggies, the rude ones, the person who just cut you off in traffic, the micromanaging boss trying to keep it all together, the nice ones with too much pressure on them, the resentful teenager trying to learn... The list goes on, but so does the love of God.

Love them enough to speak, or encourage, or reach out. We all want to be liked and accepted. But do we let the fear of not being liked make us silent when we should speak the love of Christ? Does fear drive out our ability to actively love?

Pray for someone to share with, and for the strength to love beyond fear...and look with new eyes at the people in your path.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Kristy Cox05/03/07
Good concept here. Yes, perfect love does cast out fear and you used several examples of how people demonstrate their need of Christ/love and how difficult it is to approach them. A few tips: try to choose one example of a person who needs the love of Christ and then show how you can demonstrate love toward him/her. Your readers will automatically assign a lost person or an irritating person they know to be in place of the one specific example you list because lost/irritating people are universal. It is just the names and faces that change. Thanks for sharing!
Jan Ackerson 05/06/07
Your first four paragraphs are exceptional! Nice devotional.
Myrna Noyes05/07/07
You have dealt with one of the most paralyzing emotions we face--one that is at the root of so many of our other dysfunctions. You have reminded me that I need to look beyond the sin, the sleaze, the rebellion, the rudeness in people and see the fear that feeds all these things. As you said, the only thing that can conquer this fear is real love--the balm for all our heart hurts! Thank you for so capably sharing these thoughts with us! :)
Jacquelyn Horne05/31/07
Wonderful advice here. Good devotional.