In any healthy relationship, you will discover that love, not fear, is motivating personal interaction. For example, in a marriage, one spouse can share a place of personal brokenness and not fear the end of the relationship. Children want parents whose first response to their failure is not punishment. If a parent is immature and repeatedly responds in fear, the child will cease coming to them and go elsewhere where someone will listen.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we can change how we relate to each other in our relationships because we first discovered this kind of love when we received the unconditional love of God. We were able to come to Him and confess our worst sins and know that we would not be thrown away because His love had overcome the darkest elements of our lives. Confession without the fear of rejection confirms that love is present in a relationship.
John wrote about this kind of love when he penned the words, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love”(I John 4:18).
When John used the word “perfect” he was using a Greek word that means, “complete”, “full” or “finished, lacking nothing.” Only a mature love can live without the fear that human failure can produce. It is free from the kind of fear that creates unloving responses to another person’s vulnerability in a moment of confession.
The evidence this kind of love is present and mature is seen in its ability to cast out fear when it rears its ugly head. John intentionally used a word to describe this casting out of fear. It is defined as “to violently throw with force” something out of a relationship that is interfering with the atmosphere of love. It is not a gentle word. It describes a spouse aggressively taking hold of a lie the other spouse believes that traps them in the fear of rejection and aggressively tossing that lie out of the conversation. This kind of love creates a safe relationship where we can get in each other’s face over painful failures and allow only love to come between us. That is a perfect kind of love.