Sometimes, the world seems like a more evil place than ever before. In reality, I imagine it isn’t much more or less evil than in days gone by; it is our technological advances that enable us to know more about what’s going on in the world, thereby drawing our conclusion about evil. Nevertheless, this has drawn out fear in some people.
The Bosma case, about which I wrote last week, is an example of this. Advances in information sharing arguably led to Mr. Bosma’s abduction (because he was selling a truck online) and to our knowing about it (through mainstream and social media). One could argue that the advent of terrorism, of which we rarely spoke in the past, has come as a result of how much we can know and how quickly we can know it.
And terrorism, if you think about it, has its root in fear. Terrorism is commonly defined as the use of violence and intimidation for political gain, but if you break it down, terror itself is extreme fear. Those who engage in terrorism are trying to make people afraid – afraid enough to give in to what the terrorists want.
Terrorism, then, doesn’t just happen with guns and bombs and planes and land mines. It can happen even with words alone. And because we have greater access to more words than ever before in the history of the human race, it has become easy to terrorize people with words. Fear is struck into many hearts as a result.
What do you fear? It’s a good question to ask oneself. The root of our anger is fear, and in extreme cases, we are driven to do whatever we do in life by fear. But that is not God’s plan for us.
In 1 John 4.18 we read that “perfect love expels all fear” (NLT). The deeper we grow into the love of God – which is perfect love – the less fear we will have. The Psalmist wrote, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea” (Psalm 46.1-2, NLT). And who can count the number of times Jesus told us not to be afraid?
Easier said than done, right? Fear is one of the devil’s great tools against followers of Jesus. Face your fears head-on, mindful that you have the Creator of the universe going ahead of you and behind you (Psalm 139.5). Give them to God in prayer, but don’t take them back. Let God’s perfect love drive out your fears. This might not all happen at once, but as the Lord works in your heart, you will find your fears replaced with God’s perfect love.