I have a new favorite quote from my favorite author, C.S. Lewis:
“Perfect love, we know, casteth out fear. But so do several other things – ignorance, alcohol, passion, presumption, and stupidity. It is very desirable that we should all advance to that perfection of love in which we shall fear no longer; but it is very undesirable, until we have reached that stage, that we should allow any inferior agent to cast out our fear.” — C.S. Lewis, The World’s Last Night
Whew. How well I know these words. Of the five things listed that can also cast out fear-ignorance, alcohol, passion, presumption and stupidity–I have experienced them all. And yes, they all do cast out fear. I remember the bravado I got from my very first drink. I remember seeking out “passion” through trying to find “love” as a teenager. Many a time have I done stupid things in acting out to push out fear. Presumption, ignorance–I have known them all.
But these are inferior agents. I know that now. Do I call upon that Perfect Love to cast out fear, perfectly and consistently? No. How I wish I would! But I know that Perfect Love. It is expressed in this verse, borrowed from a pastor’s blog post today:
Perfect love is the cross. Perfect love that casts out fear is the fact that God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross as payment for our sins. This is the truth we must preach to ourselves. This is the truth I must preach to myself today.
Fear is paralyzing. But to cast that fear out with anything less than the perfect love of God and His son’s death on the cross, is to cast out fear only to welcome more fear back in to replace it. This I know to be truth. But when I allow the God of all mercies to cast out the frequent fear of my soul, it is replaced with peace. Real peace.
And so we must, we should heed my “Uncle” Lewis’ words and strive to “advance to that perfection of love in which we shall fear no longer.” Amen.