Fear always makes us our worst self. When we look at some of the worst things humans have done, no matter what their social, political, or religious identity is, it is almost always grounded in fear. Whether it is war, greed, lying, or any other selfish or anti-social behavior, fear is most often the underlying factor.
Fear is aimed at self-preservation. We’re wired for it; however, each of us is wired to be afraid differently. Self-preservation turns nasty when it comes to groups of people. It grows and festers as tribalism, as us versus them, or as egotistical comparison and scheming. Wherever there are groups of people, you can expect to see this. And part of that self-preservation comes with insidious self-justification. Without it, we would see what we are up to and be afraid of ourselves – and that just won’t do.
What overcomes fear? Of the kind of fear we are talking about, no amount of our tools or our strength is enough. We need hope. We need trust. I call this faith, and in many ways, we all use it daily. Faith in our police, faith in our government… but when our police and our government are made up of people just like you and me—people who are afraid—that only goes so far. We need a better assurance than that.
This is where I’ve found faith in God and His love to be the surest remedy to fear. And I’m not perfect at dwelling in that faith, but by His grace, I’m growing. In my own circles, I’ve seen Christians lash out and say the nastiest things in fear, but I’ve also seen Christians overcome fear in the absolute best ways through love, in faith. The truth is that we are all growing in faith and we do not get it perfect. Lord help us—we are still growing.
With all the tools in the world, and all the strength, I know full well that I can not put faith in myself – it is in God alone that perfect rest from fear comes. He alone is flawless. He alone is almighty and good; good beyond death itself as evidenced by the cross. He alone is victory over fear. In His love is security.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).