If you’re a parent, you’ve seen how children react to your behavior with their own. It’s been stated in psychology that if you use negative reinforcement, the subject is more likely to learn how to avoid getting caught rather to actually produce the desired results. I’m not against discipline, by any means; however, in my own experience with my sister, I’ve recognized my own tendency to be strict and controlling rather than leave room for the potentially unpredictable.
That is not love.
Good rules are boundaries between the safe and the dangerous, not tools of subjugation. Love is the freedom that comes from the safety of these boundaries and the joy that comes from mutual trust and respect.
Love is what I need to learn more of. With my sister, with everyone.
In today’s devotional, Danny Silk describes love as an invitation to others “to bring their best forward in a relationship.” He goes on to say…
Scared people show you their worst, but people who feel loved will show you their best.
This is certainly true of my sister. When she feels rejected–her greatest fear–she shows her worst: her worst attitude, her worst crying, her worst anger. In times when my discipline turned into punishment, her fear ended up scaring me. Is this who I am? A source of terror in a child’s eyes? A source of emotional damage?
She should never have to earn my love.
No one should ever have to earn my love. My trust, yes; my respect, yes. Never my love.
So, on to today’s questions:
Why do you think fear brings out the worst in people?
When has someone loved you well and, as a result, calmed your fear?
For the first, I think that it’s because fear places the focus on ourselves. How will I endure or escape this? What did I do wrong? How is this affecting me?
Valid questions all, but should our focus be on ourselves when we’re living for the King and His Kingdom?
How about the second question? Who has calmed your fears?