Prisoners of Fear

canstockphoto5327515Shohoiya Yokowai was a Japanese soldier on the island of Guam during WWII. When American forces landed, he fled into the jungle and found a cave in which he hid for 28 years because he was afraid of being captured by the Americans. He learned that the war was over by reading one of the thousands of pamphlets dropped into the jungle, but he was still too afraid. For 28 years he lived in the cave, coming out only at night to look for roaches, rats, frogs and mangoes on which he survived. Finally some Guam residents found him and convinced him that it would be all right for him to come out of his jungle prison.

Can you imagine spending 28 years living as a prisoner of fear? Look around you, because there are a lot of prisoners of fear.

In his documentary Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore looked at the high murder rate in the U.S. and compared it with Canada, in which there is virtually no murder, and concluded that it’s not because of the presence of so many guns—Canada has more guns per capita than the U.S.—but that Americans are more fearful.

That’s actually the context in which the gun debate needs to be placed. Is it really wise for guns to be so plentiful and available in a nation so full of fear?

It’s easy to conclude that hate fuels the perpetrators of mass shootings and terrorist bombings, but I could argue as forcefully that behind the hate there is fear.

We aren’t born hateful, but fear is a survival mechanism that is built into each living thing. So it’s not so much that we fear what we hate, but that we hate what we fear.

Fear is the opposite of love.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

That’s not all; the Bible also presents fear as being in opposition with faith. For instance, there’s the time in Matthew chapter 8 when Jesus and his disciples are in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus is exhausted, and so he falls asleep in the boat. Takes a little nap. He’s so tired that even when a storm whips up, he doesn’t wake up.

Now, that’s tired.

The boat starts taking on water, and the disciples are bailing like crazy to no avail, and finally they wake him up. Look what it says in verse 26: “And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm.” If they had had a lot of faith, they would have had little fear.

Paul likewise tells the Corinthian church: Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13) Stand firm in your faith, be courageous and strong—in other words, stand firm in your faith, don’t be afraid, or at least stand firm in your faith in spite of your fears.

Fear is the opposite of faith.

Faith liberates, fear imprisons.

Faith empowers ,fear paralyzes.

Faith encourages, fear disheartens.

Faith heals, fear sickens.

Faith renders you effective, fear renders you useless.

Faith rejoices in God, fear puts hopelessness at the heart of life.

Beware the person who tries to move you to action through fear, yet claims to share your faith with you.

They may share a set of beliefs with you, but faith is the one thing they most definitely do not share.

Photo by © Can Stock Photo Inc. / leeser

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