I had a lot of fears growing up. I feared I would not find a decent girl to marry. I feared not being liked by my circle of friends. I feared not being appreciated after doing a good job. I feared not performing well in my academics. I feared losing my family members to death, amongst many other fears. I still have some of those fears today but not to the degree that I had a few years back. I have come to see that fear is a temporal good thing and a bad thing at the same time. Why did I say temporal good? Because fear can drive us to do the right things with the wrong motivation. Fear of being caught can keep you faithful in a relationship. Fear of being fired can keep you reporting to work on time. The end result is great but the motivation is not. It’s a temporal good because it does not last. Eventually Homo Sapiens Sapiens’ intelligence finds a way to muffle fear. The infidelity is covered by secrecy. The getting late to work is covered by lies. In no time, there’s no good at all out of it. Now fear’s nasty face is obvious. Fear makes us hush when injustice thrives. Fear keeps us mum when we ought to stand up to the bully in class. Fear keeps us in status quo and stops us from operating beyond our comfort zone.
Fear manifests itself in many ways. Here are some:
- Anger is an expression of fear. We fear not being liked. So when miscommunication occurs and we are mistakenly painted in bad light, we are afraid that people may think ill of us, so we raise our voices angrily to prove our innocence.
- Revenge is an expression of fear. We were heart-broken and we feared being seen as weak and vulnerable so we had to show our Chuck Norris spirit through a well-crafted plot.
- Self-pity is an expression of fear. We fear not having attention. So we delve into a bottomless pit of depression that kills every mirth and euphoria in those around us. We turn their attention to our forlorn state of life and require their sympathy and even tissues and tears.
- A harsh person is an example of a fearful person. They may fear being seen as failures. As a result, every project they work on gets completed perfectly but they end up with no friends. In their ferocity, they steeped on the toes of their team members remorselessly to produce a perfect Powerpoint presentation.
- Possessiveness over our loved ones is an expression of fear. We fear being alone so we hold onto the ones closest to us and claim that we only do what we do cause we love them. No, the truth is that we fear.
- Being accepting can also be an expression of fear. We fear being rejected by people so we accept everything about them even the things that hurt us. We are willing to be hurt than to be rejected, so we stick around.
Fear is selfish
Every fearful expression is driven by selfishness. It’s all about the victim. You don’t want to be misunderstood. You don’t want to be vulnerable. You want attention. You want to be seen as successful. You want to feel loved. You want to be accepted. And while all these things are good to feel, beloved, they are all temporal goods acquired with the wrong motivation. They won’t hold for long. A day will come when you WILL be misunderstood and no amount of shouting and barking will convince the other party. A day will come when your heart will be so broken that you will lack the capacity and the will to fight back. A day will come when your self-pity will be too toxic to endure and you will have nobody to cry with around you. A day will come when your friends will take no more of your drivel and walk away because of your viper attitude. You will discover that if you want to go fast, you go alone but if you want to go far, you need those friends. A day will come when your children will leave the home, get married and you will have no say over their decisions. A day will come when people will reject you. She may refuse to marry you. He may refuse to continue dating you. And you will discover that you’re all alone. Fear may help us get what we want but it won’t last. It’s a temporal good.
Love casts out fear
It takes no small doses of courage to overcome some of our deepest fears. Courage is not the absence of fear but rather it is the will to act despite fear. Courage in itself is NOT a driving force. Courage is the chassis; love is the engine. Courage is driven by love. It takes love to consider the feelings of the people you are about to raise your voice to. It takes love to discard your sinister revenge schemes and let the other person live in peace even when they have hurt you. Misery loves company. It takes love to keep them out of that sorry state. It also takes loving oneself to get out of your misery of self-pity and use your time and energy for a better cause. It takes love to stop being possessive over the ones around us and even see them achieve success without our input. It takes love to treat your friends with kind words and a kind attitude. It takes love to confront our friends affectionately even if means that they will reject us. Love counters our fear. Love drives courage. Now, you may have read that and thought to yourself, “Ernest, that kind of love is non-existent.” And you’re right. As far as humanity is concerned, that love does not exist. That kind of love is only found in the supernatural. It’s the love of Divinity. It’s the Love of Christ Jesus!
When we feared being misunderstood, he accepted our insults on that cross. When we feared being vindicated for our broken hearts, he took the revenge on that bleeding tree. When we feared having attention, he crowned us with glory and gave us everlasting attention through eternal life. When we feared being seen as failures, he made us victors so that for eternity we will be conquerors. When we feared losing our loved ones, he gave us himself and promised to never leave us. When we feared not being accepted, he accepted us in our worst state and clothed us in his righteousness. His love gives us courage to discard our own fears. His loves shows us that it isn’t about us but it’s about Him. His love shows us that while the whole world may not understand us, He knows our deepest hurts. And for that reason, we don’t need to justify our existence and our performance. His love shows that He did not pour out his revenge on our sinfulness but forgave us and therefore compels us to forgive those who hurt us. For if we do not forgive, we claim to be greater than God in authority. His love teaches us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are not accidental atoms that collided to form a human being. We are weaved in His complexity and created in His own Image. Our confidence and self-esteem rests in being Children of the Cosmic King. His love demonstrates that he was patient with the weak and so should we be with those around us. His love shows us that He had the courage to let us know that He was the Way the Truth and the Life and that nobody goes to Father except through him. Whether we liked Him or not for stating what we don’t want to hear, He let us know so that we could have a chance at eternity. For that reason we have the courage to correct in love those who will reject us. He loves us. We remain faithful in our relationships because He is faithful and not because we fear being caught. We cease fearing that we are 30 and unmarried because we know if we ask and believe, the right Husband will come, beloved. We cease being fearful that He will not meet our needs because His Word is faithful and He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19). The only fear He teaches us is a healthy fear, the fear of the Lord which means the Love and reverence of the Lord! No more fear, beloved; start loving.
1 John 4:18a There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear