[Originally published as Is Fear a Sin? Hope Walking with Wendy]
With all the stuff that happened in 2020, I found myself thinking about a certain passage of Scripture more and more often. I even looked up the meaning of one of the words in it when the COVID-19 virus strutted its awful stuff across our entire planet.
But before I share that verse with you, let’s dig into the question of
Whether or not fear is a sin
One thing I do know about fear for sure. It’s a motivator.
It motivates us to either fight, flight, or freeze. While editing a section in my memoir manuscript about the times I froze when under attack, I wondered why I did that. I postulated fear was holding me hostage. I was afraid the perpetrator would hurt me worse if I retaliated.
It’s true that sometimes to save your life you must freeze. In some circumstances, to fight would fuel the fury.
It’s also true that flight may be the best option to choose. The sooner the better, to possibly circumvent a freeze. If we suspect we’re in danger, fleeing to a safe place is wise. I’ve gotten adept at heeding the nudge to dodge danger.
Fear can cause us to call on the Lord for comfort or deliverance. In the case of COVID-19, fear caused me to pay closer attention to what the Bible says about end times. Here is what I found in Luke 21: 9-11:
But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
The word “pestilences” popped off the page. Here is where I confess I had images of pests swarming over the earth, so I decided to look it up. Instead, the Merriam-Webster dictionary says that:
It’s an infectious disease or plague.
Oh my, that describes COVID-19 perfectly. Did you notice what else the verse said?
Be not terrified.
What a kind and gracious God we have. He warned us ahead of time what was to come. The signs of end times have been described in the Bible as labor pains. When a pregnant couple has gone through nine months of gestation, trust me, labor pains are a good sign. It means the mama and the papa get to meet their bambino soon and very soon.
Coming face to face with our Lord and Savior is nothing to be afraid of. It’s a joyous occasion to look forward to. It’s the end of our faith race and the beginning of the longest praise-fest ever held in the universe.
God doesn’t tell us the signs to scare us; He tells us because He cares about us. He doesn’t want us to be petrified, He wants us to be jubilant. He is a calmer of fears and a wiper of tears.
Is it a sin to be afraid?
I think it’s what we do with fear that matters most:
- Do we run to God and His Word when we’re afraid? Or do we binge-scroll the newsfeeds until we’re unable to sleep at night?
- Do we fight for our family’s, friends’, and communities’ safety by praying? Or do we freeze and escape into sleep, food, or the internet?
I think fear is a feeling. As long as we don’t allow it to override faith, we don’t need to feel shame. Fear is the town crier warning us to take cover. It tells us to gird up with godly strength to defend our loved ones and protect ourselves. Fear is a call to pray. Fear is a reminder to walk by faith.
And if the worst thing we feared happens to us or to our loved ones? What then?
When I recently heard on the news there was a new strain of COVID that’s easily caught and speedily spread, fear flashed through me. But only for a second. I turned my thoughts to God and His Word and remembered this is the way of labor. Labor intensifies as it progresses. This is part of the end times and the beginning of Christ’s return.
Our job isn’t to guess what year or day Jesus will return. Our job is to trust God, obey the government health authorities, and be kind to our neighbors.
And now I’d like to close with a poem:
The world may weep amidst its pain
as earth’s labor progresses
but God still has things in control
And He has plans to bless us
The world may seem to be at loss
to fix its growing problems
but Christ’s return is very soon
and He’ll swiftly dissolve them.
Hope Blessings ~ Wendy Mac