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Love Of God/fear Of God


Okie
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A topic that may be too simplistic but one that challenges me daily. Would love to hear what others think about this seeming dichotomy. In the past I've tried to console myself by asserting that the two feelings are incompatible and that a God who wants to love us would not want us to fear him. It strikes me now as a bit naïve. Obviously a stumbling block. Am open to any and all comments.

 

Thank you

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Oki,

 

The definition of fear...." an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat."seems to me to be a characteristic applicable to men and their beliefs and not of God. While God can be feared if one chooses to believe one should fear or it is somehow beneficial to their well-being, i choose to believe that God is perfectly accepting of creation as it is and that in a concious connecting with God there is only found perfect love for all things which leaves no room for fear. To me, dichotomies such as 'love of' 'fear of' God exist only in the ego mind.

 

It seems to me if one sees God as a person then it is natural to see such a dichotomy as you mention. Personally, i do not see God in that light.

 

Joseph

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Thanks, Joseph. It makes sense that it is a matter of ego and not a characteristic of god. And your comment as god not necessarily a person gives food for thought. It was emphasized during my brief stint with fundamentalism that you MUST have a personal relationship. Never accomplished it though. Maybe there's more work to do to let go of ego than to worry about love vs. fear.

 

I appreciate your taking the time to respond

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Okie,

 

The two are incompatible in my view - you can't love somebody you fear! True love does not require fear in exchange for love.

 

If we're talking about God as a father then my experience as a father is the only way I can relate. I love my children and nothing, NOTHING, could ever come between me and my love for them. They may drive me crazy, they may even hate me for some reason, but I would never ever wish them to be eternally separated from me and/or suffer eternal anguish. For me to want them to fear me would be an ego trip in itself!

 

Cheers

Paul

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Thanks Paul. I share your thoughts especially about our offspring. My experience confirms your statement about the unique nature of a relationship with our children. I would also never sever ties with or intentionally withhold love from my daughter based on her actions or even attitudes. I do know that I have instilled fear in her from time to time over the years and as soon as I recognize it I make a deliberate effort to apologize and try to set things right again. We have been essentially separated since my divorce of many years ago and that situation has caused much grief. She's married now to a wonderfully supportive guy for whom I have much affection. That gives me some measure of satisfaction that I didn't screw her up completely.

 

I am grateful to you for your response

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I think, like Joseph has said, it depends on how you view God. But when you talk of fear, can I ask, what would you be afraid of? Of God punishing you? Of hell? Of God's disapproval? How would this affect your behavior? Is fear of God's wrath the reason why you treat others with love and compassion? Fear is a powerful motivator, there is no doubt about that. But I think God, if indeed you are experiencing God as a physical (or not so physical) being, wouldn't need to resort to the tactics used by thugs and dictators to achieve her goals (if goals she has).

 

One of my favorite Bible versus is 1 John 4:8 - whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. Read what you will in that, but I tend to think that God, however you experience her, is love not fear.

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Many thanks, Kate, for your response. I would think the answer to your question would be yes. I am intrigued by Joseph's comment regarding ego. That has a ring of something like the right track. Maybe fear is rooted in an ego that refuses to let go and let God. And in the process, blocks the love that is readily available and all around us.

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I feel in the splendor and glory in the present moment of love. The fear that is in the past and a future never manifests otherwise it would not be love. The present moment is difficult to live in because the mind is always active and seems to want to grasp, but in the present moment of the mind one does not have fear because one is not a sinner, a Christian, Buddhist ect., but I call the present moment the mind of Christ. It is the door that opens the mind to the soul, a moment of ecstasy.

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A topic that may be too simplistic but one that challenges me daily. Would love to hear what others think about this seeming dichotomy. In the past I've tried to console myself by asserting that the two feelings are incompatible and that a God who wants to love us would not want us to fear him. It strikes me now as a bit naïve. Obviously a stumbling block. Am open to any and all comments.

 

Thank you

 

 

When I fear something I do one of three things (Fight, Flee, or Freeze). When I trust and revere something I tend to be drawn to it. God is the same way. I trust, revere, and have faith in God thus I am drawn to God's goodness. I cling to God's love and mercy like a young child clings to his binky. Enough fear and a man will cower, yet we are told to be bold, confident, and to exhibit faith. I once feared the God I learned of in the writ, then I realized that God is exponentially better than what I had previously learned of him, perfect in love and mercy. This inevitably drew me closer to him, which then encouraged me to lead a better life and follow principles I know are good, right, and beneficial to others.
I revere God but I no longer have a frightful fear of God. Fear is an emotion that compromises one's security in a thing. I view fear as an indication of lacking faith in something. When my focus is on fear I react differently than I would if I had a honest to goodness faith. Seriously, if you have faith in something what's to fear? The storm that raged while Jesus and his disciples were on that boat got his disciples pretty worked up. Jesus on the other hand was cool as a cucumber. He had no fear, but faith that all would be well despite the raging sea tossing the boat about like a rabid dog with a rag doll smeared in peanut butter.
Fear is a human motivator. It's carnal and has little use aside from warning of danger, but if we are to place our child like faith in God then surely fear doesn't please him like a trusting faith pleases him. Once we get to getting faithful then shouldn't our fear melt away in favor of trust and security? It's impossible to please God without faith, so if this is true am I (we) truly being faithful if I (we) fear our creator? Most people more often than not fear the unknown, but once a person establishes knowledge of what was once unknown fear begins to fade. It is written that we know God by knowing love. It is written that perfect love casts out fear. In the beginning of our journey of faith many of us learned to fear God because we didn't truly know God, but once we come to know and understand his true character, have faith in his goodness, and trust in him we ultimately become secure developing a child like faith. As we mature and grow in knowledge God gives a great peace and comfort to us, ensuring us that all will be well.
That's my faith. I don't tremble in fear, but rather I get chills up my spine in awe and reverence of God's uncompromising goodness. I'm not suggesting that any who literally fear God lacks faith. I'm suggesting that your faith is not producing the fruits it ought to yet (true blue security). If I were a betting man, I'd say many lack faith in themselves ... that they feel unworthy of God's favor. I think that's a bogus mindset, being that God created us knowing the end from the beginning, knowing how we stumble fail and fall. I'm not as secure as I'd like to be. I do allow fear to creep in from time to time. I'm working it out by trusting a little more in God day by day. There's a reason we are told to be bold (confident) on the day of judgement, though. God's got this. Fear only serves as a personal tormentor of those who haven't yet matured in a mustard seed type of faith (me included).
Edited by ZenMonkey
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Zen Monkey, Great post...................Thank you for the thoughts.

 

There’s an oft-recounted story of a thief who had a dream one night of a monk outside town by a small lake. In the dream, the monk took out of his deep habit pocket a gem of great price wrapped in cloth. The thief woke and, inspired, went out of town in the darkness to the lake. There he found the monk from his dream and told him he wanted what was in his pocket. The monk reached deep within the brown folds, surprised to find a lump of cloth. The monk pulled it out and unwrapped the cloth. Both men gazed on the gem – the thief with avarice, the monk in surprise. The monk caught the thief’s eyes and, reaching his out full hand to him, asked, “Do you want this?” The thief grabbed it and went home, staying up all night staring at the gem. In the morning, the thief wrapped the gem back in the cloth and returned to the lake. The monk was still there, and the thief approached him. “Here,” the thief said to the monk, as he reached forward with the clothed gem. The monk looked up, taking the bundle, asking, “You no longer want it?” The thief paused, looking at the monk carefully, and said, “No, I don’t want that. Instead, I want the power that gave you the ability to give it to me.”

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