Fear is a powerful emotion. The common reactions that a person adopts when he or she is fearful are either “fight” or “flight,” but fear can cause individuals to do other things as well. Fear can cause one to lie and cheat, to see the other as somehow alien and hateful, and to see reality in a horribly distorted way. Otherwise good people act in bad ways due to fear.
In A HiddenWholeness, Parker Palmer points out that fear feeds an arrogance that provides justification for our unseemly actions. We fear being powerless, so we adopt a feeling of arrogance. Of course, arrogance is rooted in insecurity. My arrogance becomes a shield against my insecurity and fear. Palmer, “The more insecure I feel, the more arrogant I tend to become, and the most arrogant people I know are also the most insecure.” It’s a vicious circle, isn’t it?
So what do we do with this fear? In 1 John 4:18 we read these words, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” The writer of 1 John points out that where there is love, one can be secure in himself or herself. There is no need to fear; in fact, fear becomes a barrier to love. It would seem that love and fear cannot coexist at the same time, doesn’t it?
We can always find something to fear, but believers can always find room for love.