Fear? It’s Not That Scary
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. It happens.
But here’s the thing about fear: we don’t have to 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 Afghan refugees from coming into our country, we need to listen to and acknowledge those fears. We don’t have to believe their fears are reasonable in order to recognize that they are real. Fear is not always rational. That doesn’t mean it isn’t being experienced.
We cannot dismiss, discount or disparage other people’s 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.
And if we are to address fears, people have to be able to name them. Fear is something that must be named and heard in order for us to move forward. Some fear can alleviated with some simple myth/misinformation busting. Some fear may be cleared through better education and a deeper 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 to move past those fears in to the life you have called us to lead. Amen.
Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.