It is everywhere! No, I am not talking about the fear of the Lord. Nor am I talking about any sort of healthy fear.
No, I am referring to another kind of fear — an unhealthy fear.
She sat just outside the main doors to our auditorium (sanctuary, worship center, etc.). She was in her late 40s, had alcohol on her breath, and looked as if she had been crying for days. The doors were open and the service was about to begin. She sat in a chair and refused to go in. She said something about not being worthy. She sat in that chair, legs crossed, and rocked.
I knew this woman and some of her family. She was an alcoholic and had lived in much pain and had caused much pain for many years. She had lived a sad life.
Deep within this woman was much fear. She was fearful that God no longer loved her. She was afraid to stop drinking and afraid to continue. She had been hurt deeply by others. She had been through one broken marriage and wondered if she would be loved again.
There is much fear in many churches. For example:
- The fear of being known.
- The fear of being known and then rejected.
- The fear of being left out.
- The fear of being seen as “less than.”
- The fear of being discovered.
- The fear of having another see my guilt.
- The fear of having another see my ignorance.
- The fear of having another see my insecurity.
- The fear of having another see how fearful I really am.
On and on it goes.
When I first began working with a church as a minister, I remember feeling fear. I was afraid that people would be very disappointed if they knew that I didn’t have it all together. I was afraid that some would be disappointed that I wasn’t like the Apostle Paul or Peter, not to mention Jesus. No, I was a minister and was living as a Christ-follower. Yet, I was also me — just a regular guy.
Fear has a way of keeping our relationships shallow and our friendships surface level. Fear has a way of keeping others at arm’s length, even those who appear to be safe.
What about you?
What kind of fear have you seen among Christian people?