Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Gift of Fear

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby talked about fear in his Presidential Address at the Church of England Synod this week. "We all know that perfect love casts out fear," he said. "We know it although we don’t often apply it.  We mostly know that perfect fear casts out love."

But our problem isn't fear, it's trust.  Discarding fear does not produce trust.  In fact, it can be quite dangerous.  Fear keeps us from running out on the freeway.  Fear keeps us from walking down unlit streets.  Fear can keep us alive.

In The Gift of Fear we learn these things that should put us on our guard about where we place our trust:

  • Forced Teaming: This is someone implies that they have something in common with you, acting as if you have a shared predicament with them, when that isn't really true.
  • Charm and Niceness: This is someone is being polite and friendly to you in order to manipulate you by disarming your mistrust.
  • Loan Sharking: This when someone gives you unsolicited help so you will feel obliged to extend some reciprocal openness in return.
  • The Unsolicited Promise: This is when someone promises to do (or not do) something when no such promise is asked for: This usually means that such a promise will be broken. 
  • Discounting the Word "No." This is when someone refuses to accept rejection.

Fear can be discernment. What we need is wisdom.

Wisdom puts locks on our doors, but also installs the hinges. Wisdom helps us discern when to close the door and when to open it.  Wisdom is that brilliant light that shines in the darkness.  Wisdom can be trusted.

Our problem is not fear.  Our problem is trust.  If trust is impaired, if it is broken, what we need is wisdom.  Discarding the fear will not bring discernment.  Discarding the fear will not make us wise.

The question is, where do we place our trust?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
Psalm 111:10

That is the gift of fear.  

1 comment:

Dale Matson said...

Well put!