"I will meditate on your precepts,
and fix my eyes on* your ways." Palm 119:15. (NRSV)
* The expression fix my eyes on was rendered as respect in the older translation.
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear: for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love." 1 John 4:18. (NRSV)
How much suffering has been caused in the world through a simple mistranslation.
Fear will close the heart, make it hard and cold, even cruel.
But love overcomes fear.
We overcome our fears when our love is greater than our fear.
If we retranslate fear God in the Old Testament as respect God how much difference it will make.
We think that fear God means punishment or judgement (which is punishment). But God is not a punisher of men and women.
What was meant by the Old Testament writers was that we should respect God and not do otherwise than God's ways.
Fear is not a positive emotion.
We cannot really love someone if we are afraid of them.
When we let go of our fear we feel love.
So do not fear God.
Respect and love God.
(Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and are used by permission. All rights reserved.)