Fear has long been an enemy of faith. The two are about as opposite as you can get. Yet they have two things in common. They both divide and unite.
The world wants us all to be united. We’re not united unless we have a common goal or a common enemy. COVID became that enemy in the past few years. But that wasn’t enough.
So, the purveyors of fear decided that any voice that didn’t line up with the ever-changing World Health Organization were enemy voices and therefore needed to be silenced. Thus, scientists and doctors who saw things differently were mocked, ridiculed and ousted by the scientific and medical community. There was no dialogue or discussion about the reasons why they had a different view. All that mattered was that they were different.
Free thinking and certainly freedom of speech were seen as threats to the established narrative of we say so and friends.
It wasn’t even the idea of who was right, it was a matter of a more powerful voice silencing the less powerful voice for no reason other than it was different. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is.
Politics used to be about dialogue, discourse, and discussion. Now it is one voice screaming for the other voices to shut up. It is using fear instead of reality.
It is uniting one group of people against another group of people. Like Biden and his followers, oops, Kamala and her followers, associating anything they disagree with Trump. Then they bring back that fear they created and manipulated to once more unite their side of the spectrum against whatever or whomever their target is. This unites their side against all other sides based on fear. You don’t even need facts to do this and really facts don’t work in this scenario at all. They get in the way of the hysteria.
That is how fear unites while it divides.
So, how about faith?
While fear uses hatred and suspicion to do its dirty work, faith uses love and submission to do the work of uniting and dividing. Faith divides its followers from others by calling its people to live by higher or different standards. This is not by condemning others. It is not the exclusive we are good, and they are bad mentality we see fear use. And faith unites its followers in a hope that one day all people will share their faith. It is inclusive in that it does not promote hate or suspicion. Faith actually loves its enemies. Faith longs to embrace those who reject it, whereas fear seeks to destroy its enemies.
There is a problem, though, when faith and fear combine. Terrorists have incredible faith in their cause. So much so, that killing innocent children is a noble act of courage. Their faith is not a loving faith but a fear-based faith that in order to get their way, they must devour their enemies, destroy culture, and kill people. Sounds like the way the devil works, doesn’t it? “The thief (the devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy;” (John 10:10a)
Do you put your faith in fear?
If you do, then your faith is in what the devil is doing. Fear steals hope and love. It kills people and relationships. It destroys culture and societies. The devil unites his followers under the banner of hatred, and he even hates you. Even if you are his most loyal follower, he seeks to steal your soul, kill your future, and destroy you in every way possible.
Put your faith in Christ who came that his followers may have life, and life to the full (John 10:10b). Faith gives us hope and love. Faith gives us new life in Christ. Faith builds up; it doesn’t tear down.
Where faith divides, it divides those who are free to love and to live from those who are slaves to fear and hatred.
Chose faith in Christ. Be set free from fear.
Andy Becker is a pastor, retired counsellor and former CEO of a Hospice organization. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.