God Gives Freedom
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear .” (1 John 4:18 NIV)
Ramblings from Evan’s dad – For years Kris and I taught parenting classes. We were compelled to do so because of the enormous help it was to us early in our marriage when babies started showing up. (Thank you Jim and Karen LaBarr!) We taught the parents to have their babies on a routine. We taught them as the babies grew, to give them very few freedoms and as they matured and understood those freedoms to expand on them. Kris would use the imagery of a funnel. The very narrow end being the amount of freedom early on and the wide end symbolized the amount as they become teenagers.
There were parents that had a hard time with this thinking. They didn’t want to stifle little Johnny or Susie by giving them limitations. They wanted to give them the freedom to learn and express themselves. It was always humorous when Little Jonny would take liberty with having no rules, and decide to express himself by taking a sharpie to the side of mom’s new white mini-van.
Kris would tell of a study where kids were placed on a large playground with woods around it and no fence. The teacher would take them out to recess and tell them to play. The kids would stay huddled close in, not comfortable with the boundaries, or more clearly, the lack of boundaries. They found similar playgrounds with fences normally had kids playing out to where the fence was, because they knew the boundaries.
Maybe that is what God does with us. Maybe the “fences” that we see biblically, much like the playground, are to show us the boundaries to make us feel more secure. Maybe they are there to protect us from getting out there and being attacked by the evil one. The “fences” aren’t electrified. We can choose to disregard them, climb over them, and leave their safety, but we need to be prepared to face the ramifications of that decision…
There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us. ( 1 John 4:18-19)