Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid! Today the Saviour has been born to you! (Luke 2:10,11)
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph 6:12)
It is no coincidence that we are told countless times in the Bible not to be afraid. It is our natural state, we are afraid. No one has to teach us that, we learn fear as if by ourselves. In dangerous situations it is also appropriate to be afraid. Fear helps us to focus, to block out everything else, and to focus on keeping ourselves safe. But why is fear still an issue in our time, when statistically people have never lived as safely as they do today? It has also become a much crazier world. Never before have so many people lived on this planet, never before have people had to process so much information. Never before have people moved and changed so much at the same time. This is unsettling and frightening. Most people realise that we humans are our greatest enemy, that we cannot save ourselves.
From the first to the last page, the Bible advertises that we should engage with God, who created us, who has good plans for each of us. That we are created in the image of God is the cornerstone of our identity. Jesus, the Saviour was born to reconcile us to God. It fits no human logic, but the Son of God vicariously carried all the guilt of the world. We are undeservedly freed from all guilt! But this only brings us something if we claim this fact for ourselves, and base our lives on it. This new birth into conscious dependence on God is the invitation to a life against fear, for the Kingdom of God, of which Jesus spoke again and again.
For God has a plan for this creation. He has promised that he will recreate heaven and earth for eternity. There will be no more misery, no more tears, no more fear, no more death. With Jesus we can be the first of the new world. The future belongs to us for eternity.
Lead not with fear (Do not make people afraid)
In the short term, it is easiest to lead people through fear and manipulation. Those who are afraid withdraw and accept disadvantages that they would not accept in good times. But in the long run, fear does not make people happy, so we look for scapegoats, guilty parties for our fear. Leaders instinctively know this, and provide us with the scapegoats so that the anger doesn’t turn against the real perpetrators of the fear. But as a rule, this works almost by itself. Those who are afraid do not turn against the powerful but against the weaker in order to vent their frustration. Bullying and exclusion are the result. In extreme cases, people are driven to their deaths.
How often do we resort to this cheap form of leadership towards children? Probably carelessly, without reflection, because we have experienced it ourselves. We don’t have to learn to make people afraid, but nobody wants the fruits of it. At the latest when we as parents realise that we have fallen into the fear trap, we need the Saviour. His invitation stands!
With digitalisation, the world has become very fast. In a split second, we decide which article to read and which not. Media professionals have long known that we humans react instinctively very quickly to fear stimuli. Fear is used specifically to generate clicks and thus advertising revenue. Compared to the history of mankind, digital media are still very young. If we didn’t want to be driven by fears only every second, then we should learn to deal with them differently. On 10 December 2021, Philippine journalist Maria Ressa received the Nobel Prize. Her acceptance speech was remarkable. Listen to her.