Thursday 21 May 2020

Fear for others (getting rid of it)

If you are like me, you don't much (or, not for long) fear for yourself - but for those you love: essentially family.

Yet, fear is an evil; so we ought not to indulge this fear either - but should cast it out. But how?

The best idea I've come across is to focus on the knowledge that - because God the creator is our loving Father - he can and does ensure that all of us are able (at all times) to follow our divine destiny - and to prepare to follow Jesus through the transformation of death, and to life eternal in Heaven.

All means all; God never leaves anyone bereft (insofar as creating the world makes that possible) including those we love, and fear-about - so we should Not fear.

But this is a thing that each can and must only do for himself or herself - in this respect we are 'on our own' in an ultimate sense. We cannot - ultimately - protect those we love; so fear is futile.

That does not, however, mean that we are each on-our-own and unaided. As well as God in his continual work of creation, and the continual presence of the Holy Ghost (whom I believe to be the universal spirit of Jesus Christ) - love is a reality in creation.

(Love is, indeed, that which makes possible creation.)

I understand this to mean that real love (of specific persons) is a real factor in life, death and resurrection; in the sense that it is always there for those who choose to be aware of it. Those whom we love are therefore potentially able to know and benefit-from our love; they can know that they are loved by us at all times and places; in all situations.

And this is the best possible thing that we can do for them.

I find this reflection is often effective in casting-out my fear for those I love.


Sean G. said...

Thank you Bruce, I needed that. What is faith in Christ after all, if we don't trust Him to show our loved ones the way? And love is our duty, not persuasion.

Francis Berger said...

This is a valuable post. Fearing for others is considered a great virtue in our contemporary society, but as you point out, it is not a virtue at all. Quite the contrary. 1 John 4:18 makes this clear as day: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."

This is going to come off sounding a bit strange, but whenever I begin to fear for my loved ones, I remind myself that if I fear about them, I do not truly love them; that my love for them stops the second my fear begins. My love for God also stops at the exact same moment.

This has to be one of the toughest lessons I have ever learned. It took me a long time and a great deal of work to get past fearing-about others. I still relapse occasionally, but when I do, I catch myself and repent immediately.

Brief Outlines said...

Many thanks. What a wonderful reminder.

a_probst said...

It's a rough and bitter pill for believers who have chronic depression and anxiety and/or an autism spectrum disorder that the fear they experience is a sin. One can tell oneself that it's all in one's mind and at least intellectually keep remembering that God will ultimately save him but it won't chase away the feelings, especially when one piles on the life underachievement that usually results from this state.

As for me, I no longer have any immediate family to fear for. The oldest of my older sisters passed away 14 May (of cancer, not Covid) and the other four years ago. But I'm rather physically healthy and probably will take after my mother who made it almost to 95, meaning I'm stuck here for another thirty years. Ouch.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ap - It doesn't do to lump people into diagnostic or other categories, each is an unique case; we all have our cross to bear, at least one. The main thing is our attitude to that.

William Wildblood said...

When I fear for my children I remind myself that I may be their earthly father but God is their Heavenly Father and he actually cares for them more than I do. So I certainly have my role but, having done the best I can do, to worry further is to show lack of faith. Not that I don't worry further, of course!