Does Fear Make Me a Bad Person?
It looks like I’ll be enjoying turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce with a side of fear and trembling this Thanksgiving.
The kind of fear that needles sleep and browbeats waking hours.
It takes my breath.
I have slept through the night twice in two weeks. Mostly my brain tosses and turns. I imagine someone casing my home, determining its vulnerability. I obsessively imagine Amanda Blackburn’s encounter with her attackers. They have invaded my house every day since they broke into hers.
Sunday night we scurried from a scrumptious dinner at an Indian restaurant to the theater across town just in time to catch the previews before Mockingjay, Part II. We dashed about, speed walking, and camped in perfect seats with our friends before the opening scene, giggling and giddy with anticipation, tickled to be kid-free and on a double date.
But when a character stuck a gun under Katniss’ chin, a panic flared in my gut.
And then a fellow moviegoer’s need to head to the restroom painted Paris all over me. My breathing shallowed and I was flush with a hot sweat.
I am afraid of seeing evil in the eyes of another.
And for the first time, jail ministry has frightened me. After all, the inmates I’m in relationship with aren’t there for yanking the tags off mattresses. Recidivism is real.
Your enemy wants to handicap your love, He said.
I know……..but how is murder Your best for anybody?
I don’t get it.
I don’t author evil, He said.
I am incapable of sanctioning it.
I was against allowing refugees into the Unites States.
Did I think refugees were terrorists? Absolutely not.
Did I think Muslims were terrorists? No.
Did I think terrorists could potentially hijack the sanctuary of refugees to advance their cause? I did.
There is inconsistency in your passion, He said.
You mean, how can I beat the drum of the marginalized and not have a heart for refugees?
Fear. That’s how.
Love trumps fear, He said.
Love trumps fear, I agreed.
I do now believe we should admit refugees to the US; I do believe we are under a Biblical mandate to assist the oppressed, but I needed a little grace to get there.
I’d like to think fear doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me a mama with an unhealthy worry over her children. It makes me a human with a clenched fist around safety as an idol. It makes me an advocate tempted to coddle fear instead of pressing into boldness.
But I’m working on it.
It means I may love with wobbly knees, but this is me dragging the thing into the light.
Remaining free is a hard business. The weaknesses that threaten to sideline us are always at hand.
And when you write a Bible study extolling God’s goodness, His faithfulness and His safety, He makes sure you’re not a liar. That those Truths live in your belly, not just on your tongue.
Freeing Truth to Fight Fear
- God is absolutely incapable of evil. He doesn’t need it to accomplish His purposes. Evil occurs because we live in a broken world full of broken people. (1 John 1:5)
- God can use circumstances created by evil to accomplish great things. (Genesis 50:20)
- God is angered by injustice. (Psalm 7:11)
- God is always near. We don’t ever trod this messy dirt alone. (Psalm 62:5-8)
- Our fears point to our idols. (Joshua 24:23)
- We can be free of fear. (Phil 4:4-7)
So maybe I’ll pass on that side dish of panic on Thursday after all.
Free Stuff – As we prepare to launch the sale of Who’s Your Daddy? on December 1, we’re hosting Twelve Days of Giveaways on the Tenacious Grace Facebook page next week. Come back here on Monday to get all the scoop about how to win a bunch of free loot and kick off the month of December right.
Have the best Thanksgiving, friends.
[Feature Image: Freedom House]