I realize I am a fearful person.
Our common definition of fear was the reason why it took me so long to realize this--I thought that that one aspect of fear was all there was to fear, and so concluded it wasn't much of a problem for me. Sheesh, nightmares and snakes under the bed hadn't bothered me for years now.
We are all, in fact, in the grips of a subtle but deep fear that influences every aspect of our lives--from our thoughts to our feelings to our decisions.
The fear of man.
Edward T. Welch tackles this hugely relevant topic under its dusty, irrelevant-sounding Bible name. (When People are Big and God is Small) Fear of man, for goodness' sake? This is the 21st century, the century of freedom, individualism, nonconformity, and above all rebellion.
Edward Welch obviously fully expected the Biblical phrase 'fear of man' to set eyes rolling.
Here's the startling list he pulled out to widen the rolling eyes:
can't say no
fear of exposure
lies; maintaining 'face'
pride (based on comparing ourselves with others)
second-guessing/hesitancy/fear of erring
anger or depression because of other people
fear of evangelizing
All catch phrases of today.
After reading this, my own take on the fear of man today would be
trying to manipulate what others think or feel about me--and being manipulated in turn by that.
We've fallen into the delusion that other people are the solution to our felt needs and desires. And, as Welch says, 'what or who you need will control you.'
Our lives become needlessly complicated once we live in fear of the people around us. We're constantly trying to manipulate them to give us what we want from them, because our happiness and well-being depend on whether they do.
They become our god.
Our problem is that we need people more than we love them. And so our love for them tends to be based on our need for them--we love them based on how well they fulfill our needs.
We need to 'be people lovers, not people pleasers.'
We need to 'need people less and love them more.'
The way Christ did.
He loved us for ourselves. Not for what we could do for Him, because we could do nothing good; in fact we did evil to Him. He loved us even when we hated Him and rejected Him. He loved us without passing over our sin and our need of grace, because real love would see our need and help us, rather than pass it over for the sake of pleasing us.
He loved us, perfectly.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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