There is no room in love for fear.

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*Disclaimer: This article is faith-based. If that’s not your thing, that’s okay, but this may not be for you. Also, I don’t have all the answers. The world will make never fully make sense.

The world can suck.

I remember finding out about 9/11. As a thirteen year old, waking up and watching the TV before I went to school that day, I saw the unthinkable. Fast forward fourteen years, and the world can still seem pretty grim, only it seems now that the main way I’ll discover a tragic news story is usually via a hashtag. As bizarre as that sounds, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I was scrolling through Instagram recently and a whole lot of #prayforparis photos were showing up.

After exiting the app, I searched online and it became very clear that something terrible had occurred in Paris. A week later and news of Paris continues to flood Instagram, Facebook, lunch table conversations and our own thoughts when we have a quiet moment.

I had a friend challenge me recently, who told me that the world, particularly when viewed through the lens of social media, can seem really grim. What there’s not a whole lot of is how we can cope, particularly from a spiritual standpoint.

Before we go any further, it’s worth pointing out that the world being imperfect is nothing new. At risk of pointing out the obvious, it’s a sad but true statement.

Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s my two thoughts on how we can cope right now.

Realise that there is no room in love for fear.

Officially, 129 people died in the Paris attacks. It’s terrible. It’s barbaric. We will never fully understand the mindset of the attackers. This is also the kind of news story that can engross you, it can overwhelm your thoughts. If it happened in Paris, then why not here? What does this mean for the future? What about the politics of it all? Will there be a war?

Stop.

You need to stop walking around in mental circles, asking the same questions and getting nowhere.

Take a second to breathe, and have a read of this:

There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love – love and be loved. First we were loved, and now we love. He loved us first. (1 John 4, The Message)

You can’t simply ‘will’ fear into going away. You can’t just tell yourself to suck it up and everything is going to be okay. Instead, you have to choose what you will react to. There is no room in love for fear. Will you react in fear to what you are hearing about in the news, or will you react to God’s love, which casts out all fear?

Now, a side note… For all those wondering why God enables bad things to happen, this is a huge question. Rather than try and tackle that one right now, I’d encourage you to either talk to someone about this, or do a bit of reading yourself. Why not start here: http://bit.ly/1pyjnQE.

Once we realise that there is no room in love for fear, something else becomes apparent. It’s this:

The only thing more concerning than the things we can’t change is the things we can.

If we are living from a place that is responding to God’s love, not the fear that can paralyse us, it becomes apparent very quickly that we have a part to play.

Personally, there’s not a whole lot I can do about the tragedy in Paris. I hope this doesn’t sound insensitive, but it’s true.

Here’s the thing though…

The only thing more concerning than the things we can’t change is the things we can.

Take a second, and read that sentence again.

Do you know what I can do? I can love. I can love my neighbour. I can choose to be present in my current situation. I can choose to place value on the people around me every day by the way I listen.

I can choose to be affected by the homeless that live in my city, or by the millions that do not have access to clean drinking water. I can choose to be bothered that an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year. I can choose to have empathy for those affected by the migrant crisis, and I can choose to do something about it.

What am I going to do? I have no idea. This is all coming from a guy who is trying to figure out his place in the world.

I know that I can’t fix everything, but I also know I will not be paralysed by fear. Instead, I will respond to God’s love by loving Him and others.


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