“There is nothing to Fear, but Fear itself.” The defining words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States. Fear, the ultimate Joy robber. I wonder how FDR would chime into our discussions in America today? We live at a time where fear runs rampant. It is a pervasive undercurrent driving all of our political, social and religious discussions. The world seems to be embracing fear based faith, fear based politics, fear based economics and fear based relationships. People are afraid. Fear causes people to dig trenches, build walls and retreat to a virtual reality where the risk of truly being alive is avoided. Fear takes our eye away from investing in the only place treasure lasts forever.
Listen closely to the language of fear. Do you hear it? On the news, next door, across the dinner table. Check your Facebook posts. How about your newsfeeds and ever trending fake news feeds? Fear sells. Listen to rhetoric. Build that wall. Send them home. They are taking our jobs. They will destroy our families. They are taking our rights. They are dirty. They smell. It is just a matter of time until… Build the walls, march on the streets, win the argument, shout louder. We need to put us first. Fear separates; Right vs. Left, Liberal vs Conservative, Rich vs. Poor. Fear creates a lot of they, them, us and we reasons to stay away. You can’t really get to know They. We build walls, count pennies, stay safe and sit back as the joy is sucked right out of life. Fear avoids risk. Fear misses out on adventure. Fear loves comfort. Fear keeps you from truly living.
It is time to switch the dynamic. Instead of letting fears rule over faith. Let faith rule over fear. Faith sees enemies as opportunities to be like our Father in heaven. Didn’t Jesus said, “Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in Heaven … If you just love those who love you, what reward will you get?” Matthew 5:44-45 Faith sees the refuge, the asylum seeker and the immigrant as opportunity to show Kingdom love on earth. Faith recognizes that legislation does not change hearts. Hearts change through acts of kindness and grace. Faith says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by doing good.” Romans 12:21 Faith causes friends to become brothers and enemies to become friends. Faith sees the homeless, the beggar, the addict, the sick and lonely as Jesus knocking on the door of your heart and asking for entrance. Faith fears missing an opportunity to store treasure in heaven? Simply said, faith asks us to put on Love. Love is risky. Love is adventurous. Love is not based on comfort. Love can get you killed. Just ask Jesus. The coolest thing of all is you always control the ability to act in Love. Always! Love is a choice. Choose to love, whether people deserve it or not. Believe it when Jesus says you have a heavenly bank account. Some dividends actually pay out now, “A Reason For Joy.”