Be Not Afraid–Day One

This is part one of the Be Not Afraid series that will appear here every day leading up to Halloween.

At the heart of the message of the Gospel is “be not afraid.” However, we can believe in the Gospel and share the Gospel and do our best to live out the Gospel and still have times when we are afraid.

First lesson of fear: Don’t be afraid of it.

Fear can be valuable. It’s fear of being burned that keeps a small child from touching the stove.  It’s what causes me to make sure I have my keys in my hand before I head out to my car at night. Fear can keep us safe, but it can also be paralyzing and life-limiting if not kept in check.

But perhaps the most important thing we should know about fear is that it is real. We have to acknowledge our own fear as well as the fears of others. We should never make light or discount our own or anyone else’s fears.

Whether someone is afraid that their civil rights will be taken away or afraid that we will be overrun with terrorists if we don’t ban Muslims from coming into our country, we need to listen to and acknowledge those fears.  We will never be able to navigate the way forward if we don’t take seriously each other’s fears and work to address them.

Any lukewarm Harry Potter fan knows that being able to name our fears gives us power over that fear (it’s no accident that the one person who can call Voldemort by name is the one who can defeat him).  Fear is something that must be named and heard in order for us to move forward. Some fear may be cleared by better understanding. Other fear may require safety measures be put in place. Some fear may never completely go away, but be alleviated by the pledges of others to keep causes of the fear at bay. But fear will never be defeated by ignoring it.

God, give us the courage to name our fears, to listen to the fears and concerns of others and the faith to move past those fears in to the life you have called us to lead. Amen. 

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