The Tanakh and Christian Bible, what is often referred to as the Old and New Testament, is filled with God telling people to not be afraid of anything other than God. Fear of God does not mean to cower as children from a thunderstorm, but of a respectful awe for His divine judgement. God did not make us perfect and He does accept our prayers of sincere forgiveness when we sin against Him.
Psalm 23:4 is one of the most well-known, if not the most well-known out of all the Psalms. “Although I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for You are with me, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” These words have brought comfort to countless who have known fear in times when comfort is difficult to find.
When Moses went to the mountain and left the Israelites behind, they grew fearful that he had died and would never return. That fear lead to the building of the golden calf, since they would rather face the known of Egypt, than the unknown of Moses. Rather than send people up the mountain to check on his condition, they let fear rule.
Upon reaching the promised land and hearing what the scouts reported, they feared to go any further. God made it clear He would go before them and should not have felt anything other than the courage to continue. They chose the unhealthy fear of man over the healthy fear of God and what followed is rather well-known.
God created us with a balance of emotion and intellect, with the two in a constant state of conflict. Fear is a strong emotion, or emotional response, which means the ability to reason is temporarily lost. Without the occasional fear, we would not have an appreciation for it, nor any learning that comes from the experience.
Fear is healthy in small doses, but those who live in a constant state of fear is the exact opposite of healthy. Prolonged fear can lead to people giving up, since they can see no light at the end. If someone truly believes there is no light, they are likely to remove themselves from the world.
With the current virus headlines and a lot of gloom coming from all corners of the world, far too few see a light at the end of a long tunnel. They hide in their houses or apartments in fear of catching a virus. Without the ability to reason, since fear robs people of that, they start to lose hope. Hope is needed for survival of any situation and there is very little being done to get the message of hope out to those who are afraid.
Hopelessness is not the only result of long exposure to fear, since anger is the only other alternative. People who are angry look for targets to release their anger. There are people spending more time on the internet than they ever had due to being stuck at home. How long before people who are not anti-Semitic start to blame the Jews for the virus, or people who are not racist start to blame someone of a different race for the spread?
Not everyone is choosing to stay home to look for a target for their anger. An island in Maine saw armed vigilantes cut down a tree and place it across someone’s driveway to ensure the people inside quarantined themselves. This is not the time for vigilantes acting out of fear.
People need to be reminded to not fear man and turn towards God. They must hear a message of hope, not a message of doom. Take the time to research something clinical and turn off the news. Negatives reinforce negatives and is not healthy for anyone in a state of fear.
Research into the more clinical aspects may come across as dull to many, but it focuses the reasoning part of the brain. The more logic that is used, the less fear there will be. It is God who tells us not to fear and it is his gift of reason that conquers fear.