By: Rich Harding
A while back, I picked up the phone and called my sister, which I don’t do very often. So I was surprised when I heard screams and tears, "I cannot talk right now, I'll call you later". She hung up at that very moment without waiting for me to respond. This took me by surprise. Knowing my sister, I knew that something serious had to be happening for her to respond that way. Trying to not think too much about it, I quickly prayed and placed the situation in the hands of God.
She called me a few hours later to explain what had happened. They had been at the park with her children and another family from church. The children were playing with branches, hitting the trees, when one of her kids let go of the branch. In an almost impossible shot, the branch hit their little friend from church, leaving her instantly unconscious. The parents panicked and called an ambulance, fearing the worst. To summarize the story, the girl was fine and had no serious injury (one thing I’ve learned is that kids are much stronger than we think).
But...what about my sister's son? How did he feel? The moment the stick hit the girl and she fell on her stomach, he obviously thought the worst: that somehow he had ended her life. He was by her side, scared of the consequences of an accident that could happen to anyone. However, these are the moments that the enemy uses to try to take advantage in their lives.
Where do I want to go with this? Many times we ask ourselves how we can protect our children from this type of situation. Some parents think the solution is a protective football uniform! We make sure nothing bad happens to our children. The problem is that this is the result of fear in the father, which the enemy uses to create the same situation we fear.
What does the Bible say?
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” 1 John 4:18.
When my sister called me that afternoon, she was moved and, knowing that the other girl was fine, worried about her son. How was he going to take it? How could he recover from the emotions he experienced at that moment? At first I had no idea what to say, what can one say in that situation? Then, I felt God place that verse in my heart, "Perfect love casts out fear."
The solution is always love! Not the conditional or emotional love of the world, but the love of God: perfect love! What is the most perfect form of love that God has given us here on earth? The love between a man and a woman, an unconditional love that reflects the very nature of God, the love of a covenant. It is a decision and it produces great security and confidence to anyone who receives it. The mutuality of marital love is important not only for spouses, but for the whole family.
I told my sister: "The best thing you can do is love your husband and love your son." Why in that order? Because children will not believe that your love is unconditional until they see you prove it. When you love your spouse in the good times and in the bad, when you are faithful no matter what happens, your children will see and believe when you tell them you love them.
This creates an atmosphere of love that is integral to raising a child. I’d even dare to say that it’s the most important thing for a child. This atmosphere will create a circle of protection, a kind of spiritual barrier around your entire house. Break love and the circle will break; keep it, and your children will be safe and protected within the family wall from any fear or failure that wants to take control.
At the end of the day, after many tears, my nephew was afraid that everyone would be upset with him. When he saw the love and forgiveness that everyone showed him, he understood that he was loved unconditionally and any possible mark that wanted to stick vanished.
Perfect love truly casts out fear!