Everyone is afraid. The people gloving up and masking their faces are often mocked for being afraid. They are afraid. They are afraid for their health. Perhaps afraid of dying. The people demanding to open up the economy and get back to work are also afraid. They are afraid of not being able to provide for their families or of losing their businesses. It’s fear. Just a different fear. Those believing the virus is contrived and is a conspiracy to take over our lands are also afraid. Afraid of losing their freedom and their way of life. There are those afraid of being carriers and being responsible for bringing the virus into their home or to people they love. Some are afraid of abuse or depression or going stir crazy. It is all fear.
I’ve taken to asking people to name their fear. It seems helpful to try to get them to name what they’re afraid of and then to address the fear. Did God promise you good health? Did God promise you freedom to worship as you please? Did God promise you that you will never hurt others? As we reflect on what we are fearful about we can confess it and turn from it and love our neighbor more freely. We can more easily soften our judgments about other’s “stupid” fears when we know we are fearful, too.
I’ve found the first step is to acknowledge my own fears. I’m most terrified I’ll get the virus and bring it into my home and hurt or kill people I love. Recognizing that fear is real and possible allows me to bring it to Jesus. I can fully place my trust in him that even if I become a carrier of the virus I can trust his will to be done. I can then walk in the freedom of acting wisely and loving people well. Of taking good precautions without the demand to get it perfectly right. After that I’m free to listen to others and ask them to acknowledge their fears. Acknowledging fear has de-escalated quite a few rather rabid conversations.
What’s your deep fear?