Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fear Not--Good Words for a Hard Time

--Carlos Barberena / flickr
Looks like the tom-tom drums of fear are out in full force.
·        If we don’t fight them over there—we will fight them over here.
·        It is only a matter of time until ISIS plans a big terror attack. Just you wait!
·        We are not watching the Texas-Mexican borders—there’s no telling what will sneak across the line.
·        We have to put boots on the ground to win this war.
·        Now that the ebola virus has spread to one person in Texas—we have no idea how fast this will spread.    
·        We thought the White House was secure.
·        Social Security is drying up.
·        No college is safe—look at the girls that have been attacked.
·        Thank God we can take our guns just about everywhere.

You can’t run a country on fear. Look at Nazi Germany.
You can’t preach the good news with fear.
You can’t do parenting on fear.
You may win an election on fear—but it’s a shaky foundation.
And the media ratings may soar with fear talk—but they/we will be the losers.

You won’t find many fear drums being beaten in the Bible if you take the long view. The Biblical word which is intoned everywhere is “Fear not!” In a primitive and superstitious time—even then God kept telling the people: “Do not be afraid.”.  

Abraham...Isaac...Jacob...Joseph...Moses are only the tip of the ice berg. Little pregnant Mary was told by the angel not to be afraid. So was her husband-to-be. And when the winds blew and the little boat was about to sink—the disciples were terrified. Remember Jesus came. What did he say? Do not be afraid. No wonder those healthy words found their way into the Book.

Where did all this fear talk come from? So much of our faith has been built on the fragile construct of fear. Yet at the heart of the Gospel is that other word: Faith.

 Not too long ago I was in Philadelphia in a beautiful restaurant downtown. Off the main room where they sold drinks and people could sit by the fire on plush leather couches--I was struck by the words over the fire place. They were words for the well-heeled because it was that kind of a restaurant.  It was a word for those who sat around the bar drinking—many to excess. I like to think when the waiters and servers shuffled from table to table once in awhile those words over the fireplace would speak to them, too. I would hope when the cleaning crews that came in at night to do the dirty work in bathrooms and  sticky floors those words might touch something in their hearts too.

When you watch the news and listen to the pundits and talk to your neighbors—remember the words over the fireplace. Do not be afraid. For when you are afraid you can’t think straight. Neither can you make healthy decisions. Nor can you see the things that are around you clearly. Maybe those words in that fireplace are pretty good advice in a very troubled time. 

                             --RogerLovette /

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