This past weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder facilitated a roundtable discussion as we continued our series The Great Divide with a message on racial unity. This topic is ripped right from today’s headlines. (I feel blessed that our church is willing to discuss complex issues and equip us with Biblical truths.) Ben discussed four barriers that keep us from racial unity. Today, we will concentrate on the second barrier—fear.
Fear is one of the most powerful human emotions. But where does fear come from? It can come from being in real danger, like when a car is speeding right toward you, or when a sick (and seemingly contagious) person is in close proximity. Fear can also come from imagined danger, like uncertainty, the thought of what could happen if I say or do something that will offend others, or all the other “what ifs” that exist only in our minds.
Whether a fear is real or perceived, our response to it can go beyond the actual fear itself—it can take on a life of its own. Ben discussed some ways people deal with fear, such as avoidance, hiding, putting up a wall to remain comfortable, or keeping a distance from the situation. However, fear is not where Jesus wants us to be.
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.”
This was not only a comforting promise to the Jewish nation in Biblical times but is also comforting for us today, because we too are created by the Lord. The phrase “do not be afraid” is mentioned 365 times in the Bible—the same number as there are days in a year. Coincidence? I think not.
Simply put, “fear not” because the barrier of fear is conquered by the resurrection. God made a way. He defeated evil so that we have nothing to fear.
He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near.
God intervened and brought peace to Jews and Gentiles, and he does the same for us. This peace gives us the courage to step into difficult conversations and situations, and it removes the fear.
How do you handle fear? Do you avoid it or face it? How does the way you handle fear affect your daily life?
Think about a time you were faced with an imaginary fear. How did you respond? Now journal how you should have responded. Then mindfully meditate on Isaiah 43:1. Wholeheartedly believe that God created you in Jesus and redeemed you through grace.
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for sending your Son to perish on the cross for our sins. Thank you for all your promises, as a loving shepherd to all your sheep. Thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit to help us fight against fear. Thank you for creating all people in your image regardless of skin color. Please grant our nation the wisdom needed to break down the barriers of fear and live with racial unity. In your Son’s name we pray, amen.
This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.
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