8 Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins. 9 Open your homes to each other without complaining. 10 And serve each other according to the gift each person has received, as good managers of God’s diverse gifts. 11 Whoever speaks should do so as those who speak God’s word. Whoever serves should do so from the strength that God furnishes. Do this so that in everything God may be honored through Jesus Christ. To him be honor and power forever and always. Amen.
Acting with love is scary. But sometimes there’s just no way around doing the scary thing that stands right in front of you. For those challenging times that we’ve planned and prayed over, perhaps the best way through a difficult challenge is just to step forward with both feet.
I think of the day one has to: carefully confront someone about a serious problem, go to work feeling uncertain about one’s safety, or perhaps even just get out of bed when gripped by fear or sadness. It’s true that prayer and reason do help, but you can’t think your way out of bed! The Star Wars geek in my head hears the wise Master Yoda say, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
So I have to wonder when my behavior has said otherwise. When I’ve tried to tip-toe my way into a decision or to do something in which I’ve been stuck, I know I’m reacting by fear and not by love. I’m talking about times when I’ve felt in my gut that God was calling me to a particular task, but I’ve stood back, waffling in fear. Each time, I’ve learned that my resistance has been like Yoda also saying, “Fear is the path to the dark side.” (See Star Wars Episode 1.) Sooner rather than later, we all must act with great love instead of reacting in fear.
As Saint Peter reminds us, loving boldly means that we build community by showing up and bravely sharing our love without fear or doubt. I am not saying that we don’t have fears, just that we don’t let them rule our hearts and our heads when God is calling us to powerfully step forward in love. Think of Jesus, who was fearful but showed up anyway! I am not saying even that things will always work out as we had hoped. Loving boldly means learning to recognize God’s diverse gifts and feeling blessed to offer these on God’s behalf, just as Jesus did. It means quietly searching our hearts, listening for God and then stepping forward anyway.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
We all have fears and worry from time to time. What fear holds your love hostage and keeps you from loving others boldly? How have you overcome your fears in the past? What examples from other Christians call you to task and spur you to step forward in love?
Prayer: Loving God, you have known our deepest fears and concerns all along. You hear our doubtful cries and worries that separate us from becoming our best and boldest selves in you. Help us to seek you and to find your words and ways within our hearts. May everything we do give honor and glory in Jesus Christ’s holy name. Amen.