The Power of Fear

Are you afraid?  You should be.  There’s plenty to fear in this world, take your pick:

  • Global Warming
  • Terrorism
  • Unstable Economy
  • Job security
  • Expiring natural resources
  • Bad Credit
The list can go on and on.  Fear is a very powerful emotion.  It can cause people to act irrationally.

We lock our houses at night because we fear.  We avoid people out of fear.  We give up freedoms because we fear.  We go to war because we fear.  We buy insurance because we fear.  Insurance, that’s an entire industry built on fear.  “You need it because something bad could happen to you.”

So what is the anti-fear?  Some would argue that it is knowledge.  People fear what they don’t know.  That’s why some people micro-manage.  A micro-manager has to know every detail about every thing because they are afraid their project will fail otherwise.  But more knowledge isn’t always a viable answer.  No one can be an expert on everything.  People must learn to trust each other.

Ah, so trust must be the anti-fear.  But where does trust come from.  Any person will tell you that trust has to be earned.  Why must trust be earned?  Because people are afraid to trust.  A person must first prove that they are trustworthy, and then once they make a mistake, the status of trustworthy is revoked.  So again, fear can kill trust, but trust alone isn’t powerful enough to fight fear.

So what is the anti-fear?  I would suggest that it is love.  Now, I’m not talking about the emotion of infatuation.  I’m not talking about anything touchy-feely.  The Greeks have several words that are translated as love in English.  In Greek, I’m talking about Agape.  Why is Agape the anti-fear?

I said earlier that fear is irrational, so is Agape.  Agape is putting others before you no matter what.  Unconditionally.

Agape is patient, agape is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Agape does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

It is completely senseless and irrational, but think about it.  If you choose to agape, if you choose to love everyone, what happens to fear?  You see, love is an action, it is a choice.  It is a choice to not fear, but to trust.  A choice not to fear, but to rejoice in truth.  Reality has an amazing ability to fight fear.  When the truth is known, what is there to fear?  But because of love, you can trust and not fear, as the truth takes it’s time being revealed.

Now, when you walk around loving everyone and fearing no one, you open yourself up to being taken advantage of.  It’s a big risk.  In fact, it’s almost certain that you will be hurt in one way or another.  There are real dangers in this world, things that could kill us.  I would actually go so far as to say that a complete abandonment of fear would be stupid, because without fear, we’d all be killed by our own stupidity.  If only there were a piece to this equation, someone or something that could be completely relied upon to give stability to everything.

This is where my faith in God comes into play.  It is the Lord that provides this for me.  I can trust in Him that, no matter what is going on in this life, I’m going to be ok.  You may think that’s crazy, but I have no fear, and therefore no one on this earth has power over me.

Ted C. Howard @ted