When my son was very young, he developed a fascination with electrical outlets.
Yes, yes, we used the outlet covers, and, yes, yes, inevitably, he’d find the one recently used outlet where we’d forgotten to replace the cover.
It all stopped, though, the night he decided to see what would happen if he put tweezers in the bathroom outlet where I’d just been drying my hair. After a loud crack and a scream, we found him on the other side of the room in a heap, unharmed, but wiser. He never went near another outlet again with small metal objects.
By trial and error, cracks and screams, it could be said that we learn what to fear and what not to fear.
The Savior Jesus teaches again and again to fear nothing. In Luke 12 alone, he teaches on fear three times. “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more” (12:4), and again, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life” (12:22), and again, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (v. 32).
But, my son needed to fear electrical outlets, didn’t he? Fear is good, isn’t it, if it keeps us safe?
To fear something or someone is to give it power over us–at times, more power than God. Raw fear cripples us. It makes enemies of friends, and it rips neighbors apart. Raw fear makes us stupid. [Read more…]