2 Timothy 1:7

Over the last couple of years, I have been listening to a bunch of people speak on a variety of subjects from politics to the end times. It seems to me a number of them suffer from the disease of excessive certainty. They are convinced they are correct and everyone that disagrees with them is totally wrong. I have also noticed this tendency that their particular world view or perspective utilizes a fear factor as a main motivator in adherence and in presentation.

Fear is a crazy thing. Some people use it to justify their bad behavior. Some market fear on a regular basis. Some folks use fear to sell their latest book or video series or highlight a particular conspiracy theory. The truth is fear isolates people from one another. It creates suspicion. Paranoia. When I was a kid, I remember a bunch of neighbors gathering in our back yard to discuss digging and building a bomb shelter to protect us from the “commies.” Also known as Nikita Khrushchev and the Soviet Union. My parents and neighbors were fearful that the Russians were coming for us even in Cleveland Ohio. Can you imagine that? Fear can paralyze. Fear can rob you of your faith. Fear can bring out the worst in some. But ironically fear can also bring out the very best in others.

The apostle Paul writes to a young pastor. He tells him, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.  

Paul is telling his young friend (and he is telling us) don’t allow fear to lock you up and paralyze you. When fear shows up allow the power, the love, and the sound mind of Jesus in you to extend loyalty, care, and kindness. When fear shows up find ways to support others. Be generous. Discover the empowerment to extend encouragement. Show appreciation. In times of fear don’t run from people. Or, hide in the bomb shelter. Run toward others. Stand steady. Hold onto them. Find ways to hold onto hope and to model hope. In times of fear learn to lean into Jesus and to lean on each other like family. And watch the difference you will make. In Jesus name amen.