I decided this morning to tune in to one of the cable news channels to get a bit caught up on the news of the day. I almost immediately wished I hadn't.
I have been shying away from the 24 hour news channels for some time--mostly because they end up depressing me, and I don't need any more negativity in my life.
This morning, on the cable news channel I was watching, the news host was arguing with a United States Congressman, and the two men were essentially talking over one another, raising their voices and making their respective arguments unintelligible.
Both of these people claimed that all they wanted was the truth. The thought occurred to me as I listened to them shouting at one another that getting at the "truth" was pretty far down on their to-do list.
What they really seemed to want to do was fire up the viewership and generate some outrage. They were going for the lowest common denominator--playing on people's fears.
Fear seems to be at the core of all of our public controversies, our recent tragedies and acts of violence that keep us on edge. Fear keeps us segregated. Fear fuels our outrage. Fear keeps us from truly searching for the truth.
For those of us who call ourselves Jesus-followers, however, there is another way to live. In 1 John chapter 4, we hear these words:
"God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us... 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."
If you and I are going to truly follow Jesus' example, we will allow the perfect love of God through Jesus to guide us in all that we do. God's live as evidenced through Jesus is the kind of love that is self-giving, unconditional and... unafraid.
God's perfect love banishes fear. Let this perfect love be your conversation partner. Let it permeate your thoughts and opinions. Let it enter into ever interaction you have with others. And let it order your life in generative and creative ways.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.