Someone posted a comment on one of our recent blogs that caught my attention. It was not a comment of support and the person was suggesting Christians are afraid our beliefs are not going to remain dominant in the culture. This comment stood out to me: "I know you Faith and Freedom folks are scared, but your fears are misplaced and ultimately harmful, even to yourselves in the long run." This after Christians were likened to Muslims as wanting to control the culture.
I do agree with part of what was said. Living in fear is harmful---and unnecessary.
A lot has been said about fear lately.
The ACLU agrees that fear is not a good thing.
Interestingly, the ACLU has written an open, critical letter to President Obama accusing him of making America "a nation governed by fear."
POLITICO, generally supportive of the President, is reporting they are disappointed with the President because he has not used fear as part of his governance. They are saying, "Obama does not instill fear..." while they quote another analyst that says the President should make clear "that people have a good reason to be afraid of him."
So what part does and should fear play in our individual lives and out collective life as Americans?
Are Faith and Freedom folks scared?
Some thoughts about the President, "the folks" and fear.
The ACLU writes in their open letter to the President, "We are tired of living in a nation governed by fear instead of the principles of freedom and liberty that made this nation great."
Hey, part of that is my line.
Those "principles of freedom and liberty" were, according to our Founders, drawn from biblical truth---so why does the ACLU attack every public expression of the source of those values while at the same time demanding them?
That's the mystery of secular progressivism.
Ironically in their letter to him, they quote President Obama himself from a 2009 speech where he was criticizing President Bush. "Too often---our government made decisions based upon fear rather than foresight, and all too often trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, we too often set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford. And in this season of fear, too many of us---Democrats, Republicans; politicians, journalists and citizens---fell silent."
Yes, the President actually said that. Words have consequences. Now a strong supporter of secular progressivism is accusing him of acting like his predecessor.
The motive of the ACLU letter, I must say, is not only to criticize the President, but to pressure him in their support of Edward Snowden---the guy who leaked the classified information and is still eluding the American government.
In doing so they are exposing the President, whom they have supported, for the person he actually is.
However, POLITICO, generally supportive of the President writes, "Not yet six months into his second term, Barack Obama's presidency is in a dead zone."
Why is it in a dead zone?
Because, they say, "Obama does not instill fear"---no one's afraid of him.
Oh, the irony.
Interestingly, they say "Ronald Reagan was buoyed by the power of his ideas" and conservatives saw him as "the godfather of a historic moment."
POLITICO says Obama is not buoyed by the power of his ideas and he has few political skills other than making speeches, therefore they conclude he should use the power of fear.
They say, "Obama is standing in a presidential pulpit that recently has proved to be the opposite of bully." And they say Republicans and Democrats have shrugged him off on budget sequestration and gun control.
Breitbart, a conservative voice, says POLITICO is trying to goad the president to use fear to get better results. They are trying to scare him.
Breitbart says, "The idea that Obama might simply not have the skills, experience or interest to govern the nation seems not to have occurred to Politico's writers."
So, "To fear or not to fear"---that is the question.
There are two kinds of fear. One is a reverential fear or awe of God, the other a paralyzing emotion that controls people or is used to control people. That kind of fear can result from perceived circumstances or real circumstances.
And no, the Faith and Freedom folks are not scared by the attack on our faith, the influence of Islam or the perilous times in which we live.
We are concerned. We are not scared.
First, there is a fear that is to be encouraged. It is beneficial, but it must be understood.
It is a reverential fear or respect or awe of God.
Psalms 111:10 says it is the beginning of wisdom and leads to good understanding.
Proverbs 19:23 says the "fear" of the Lord leads to life, rest, peace and contentment.
Proverbs 14:27 says this kind of fear is a "fountain of life."
Proverbs 14:26 says it is a place of security and safety for us.
Second, there is a paralyzing, debilitating fear that can control an individual. It can be a passing moment of fear or we can live in a "spirit of fear."
2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of a sound mind."
Certainly there are times in everyone's life when we experience a moment of fear. That fear can be perceived, based on imagined circumstances or real, based on actual circumstances that can produce harm.
Living with that kind of fear is fostered by Satan, not God.
The young virgin Mary experienced a moment of fear when told how God would use her life. The shepherds were fearful when the angels spoke to them, the disciples were fearful on a number of occasions. In every case the word from the Lord was "Fear not."
Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Looking to God is looking to perfect love, drawing close to God is drawing close to perfect love and fear is cast aside.
Sometimes we have a moment of fear in regard to our personal future, our health, a family member, a relationship---any number of things can give anyone a moment of fear.
However, "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world."
I don't know whether the President will try to exert more fear or less fear, but one thing is certain, there is a "spirit of fear" in our world today and it is creating confusion among those who do not have a firm spiritual anchor.
There is, however, one thing that I am absolutely certain.
Take this with you today:
"Do not fear, for I am with you, Do not anxiously look about, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10).
Be Not Afraid. Be Blessed.