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Mr

A Xt3 Member asked at 9:37pm on March 26th 2018
Should I fear the Lord. On first sight that seems
Very different from loving the Lord. Can you please explain why fearing the Lord is actually a good thing.??

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Hi Peter, the 'fear of the Lord' we read about in the Bible isn't fear in the sense of being scared - the word 'reverence' better conveys what's meant. The Jewish philosopher Martin Buber wrote an essay called 'Distance and Relation,' which I think is a help here. He points out that before we can properly enter into relation with any other person, any 'Thou,' we must first of all 'set them at a distance,' that is to say, respect them fully for who they are. It's only on the basis of this deep respect for each one's uniqueness that I can, as an 'I' relate to them as a 'Thou.'

Here are just a few of the many references in the New Testament to fear of the Lord: 'Honour all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honour the king' (1Pt 2:17). 'And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell' (Mt 10:28). 'Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God' (2 Cor 7:1).

St John writes in his First Letter, '...perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love' (1 Jn 4:18). The fear he's referring to here is what we normally mean by fear, in the sense of fear of punishment. There's surely nothing wrong with that fear of God, much as a child can have fear of being punished if it's done something wrong. I think what St John is saying in his Letter is that the greater our awareness and appreciation of God's love and mercy for us, the less our 'fear' will be fear of punishment and rather become the deepest reverence for the One who told Mary Magdalene that he is ascending 'to my Father and your Father' (Jn 20:17). Very best, Fr Brendan
Xt3's Ask a Priest answered at 5:05am on April 4th 2018 reply

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Hi Fr Brendan

Thanks that’s helpful. Love overcomes fear.
I believe fear is a better opposite to love than hatred
I’ve seen the fear of the Lord in a list of virtues.
God Bless

Peter Brookes
A Xt3 Member answered at 8:15am on April 16th 2018 report reply
 

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