Exploring the Social Imagination

Sunday, April 27, 2014

To Be Loved or Feared - God's Imagination for Global Relations

Global Relations...To Be Loved or To Be Feared?  God’s Imagination for Global Relations – Man’s Imagination can be diplomatic when his benefits are high and there is no need or little need for military invention- the benefits that outweigh conflict. Even though man has advanced technological, his ability to resolve issues remains close to what it was a thousand of years ago or more. In the last post, it was proposed how conflict arises. Place has everything to do with who you are and what you have. Men have been appearing in places not their own, invading and annexing ‘stepping in’ for a long time. Is that God’s imagination? If we read Acts 17:24, unless directed by God, then we have to answer No.
However, it seems impossible to stay in the place where God has put us; the result of living in this fallen world. When it comes to global relationships, in this fallen world, we can ask what God would imagine as better, to be Loved or Feared.
What does Scripture say? Dt.6:13 "Fear the Lord your God, serve Him... Dt. 31:12 "and learn to fear the Lord your God." Ps 19:9 "The fear of the Lord is pure.." Ps 111:10 "Fear of the Lord is the beginning." Pr 8:13 "To fear the Lord is to hate evil" Isa 11:3 delight in the fear of the Lord." Lk 12:5 " I will show you whom you should fear." Php 2:12 "to work out your salvation with fear" and 1 Jn 4:18 "But perfect love drives out fear." This last quote from Scripture tells us about God's love. His love is perfect love and only His perfect love can drive out fear. Understand, God does not want us to live in fear of Him as in to be afraid. Looking at Scripture, to fear the Lord means to be in awe and respect of his perfect love. Because we live in a fallen world where perfect love does not exist, we need to fear God (have awe and respect) for his perfect love which we cannot attain in this fallen world. Thus, in this fallen world, human love which is not perfect cannot drive out fear. Again, to fear the Lord means, in this fallen world, that we must have awe and respect for His perfect. What does any of that have to do with Global Relations? That is a good question.
As a participant in global relations, is it better to be loved or to be feared? An illustration might be used here. There was a mob movie years ago (The Bronx Tale) in which a young boy asked the head 'boss' gangster "what is better, to be loved or to be feared?" The boss answered, "some would say that it is better to be loved by your neighbors because if they love you... they will be loyal to you, the only problem with that is that people can fall out of love (we can see many people today falling out of love with God in this fallen world) Then, they become your enemy" (in this fallen world, we can see many people today becoming the enemy of God).  The boss continued... "I say it is better to be feared because when people fear you they will be too afraid to be disloyal; thus, you are not dependent on their love to be loyal to you" (in this fallen world, those who fear God, hold Him in awe and respect, remain loyal to Him, can rest in Him and His perfect Love). God’s Imagination can apply to all kinds of relationships and even international relations, for the same reasons above. When considering global relations, it is better to be the kind of leader that is feared ... one who walks softly and carries a big stick (T.Roosevelt). It goes without saying that a good leader does not go around bopping people on the head or threatening to cause bodily harm or bring total destruction. A good leader in this fallen world is wise, respected by his/her own people and even more 'feared' (in awe and respect) by all others.
*Sociological note, according to a number of studies/statistics, when asked, men say that respect is most important to them in their relationships. In Dr. Emerson Eggerichs book, called "Love and Respect" it says that for men respect is much more important than love. Men communicate with each other with respect. And, they understand it more than love. The book proposes (using studies to prove) that men prefer respect.

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