I see you. I see the fear that has gripped you. Fear for your safety, for your family. You see the carnage and atrocities everywhere you look.
I’m afraid, too. It is rational to be afraid. It is rational to want to protect your loved ones.
But, we’re taking this beyond rational fear.
Rational fear makes you aware of your surroundings. It makes you ensure the ladder is secure before you climb to the top of the roof to fix a shingle or clean out your dryer vent. It makes you ensure your seat belts are buckled and you drive as safely as possible.
Irrational fear makes you afraid of your surroundings and any possibilities that could exist in your surroundings. It makes you buy a new house because one shingle is missing or lint clogs your vent. It makes you avoid driving.
Irrational fear makes you forget who you are.
And, I think we’ve forgotten who we are.
The light of the world.
The city on the hill.
Ambassadors for the hope and love of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Fear has stolen our identity. It has become our identity.
“Protect my own,” has become our mantra. Isolation has become our culture.
That isn’t what Christ called us to. That isn’t the name he gave us. That isn’t the Spirit he gave us.
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
I understand your fear. I also understand that we were called to go beyond that fear. To not let it rob us of our freedom, our compassion, our love.
We are to be marked by love and compassion.
Christ didn’t put any qualifiers on it. He didn’t say “show love only when it fits you best”. He didn’t say “love your neighbor as yourself, unless you believe that neighbor is a fanatic who may or may not do harm to you or your loved ones”. He didn’t say to “have compassion on all others, unless you believe your rights and freedoms are being diminished”.
I do not call you to abandon rational fear. I do not call you to act without thinking. I call you to let the Holy Spirit reign instead of the fear.
Would Christ turn away the refugees because there might be radicals or terrorists in their midst?
When we let fear reign and govern our relationships with the world around us, we tell the terrorists “You win!”
We tell satan “You win!”
Yes, I did mean satan. The father of division and hate and chaos and fear. He wins when we choose fear over love. He wins when we choose isolation over compassion. He wins when we choose our rights over our God given mandates in how we relate to the world.
Did you forget Church? We exist as proof that satan does not win! He does not win! The victory has already been secured. It’s easy to forget as we live this life filled with suffering and pain and fear. But satan does not win.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
I think this post says it better than I can. Go read it. You’ll be glad you did.
I’m still talking about it. You might be tired of hearing about it, but I can’t keep it from my mind and my writing right now. And, I can’t write about Compassion Wednesday subjects without wondering if we, those who call Jesus their Lord and King, have forgotten what compassion looks like when it’s not easy. As always, I am open to discuss this with you.
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