For years we have had this collection of short articles posted on line and we slowly add to them as new topics come up. We don't claim to have all the answers, but we're sharing how we see things. As we all share, our perspectives are widened, and it becomes easier to lay aside fear and dead religion and to choose instead pathways of freedom, boldness, and love. We hope you enjoy the mythbusters.
Myth # 2 We should be afraid of God.
There is confusion about this concept because there are multiple words for "fear" in both Greek and Hebrew, and many of them are used in both a positive and negative sense. We are told that the fear of God is a good thing, and then we are told that perfect love casts out fear! And in many cases, the original language is using the same word both positively and negatively.
The simple resolution for this is that there is a positive fear, a respect, awe, or "reverence"; and a negative fear, dread, a lack of trust in God.
The reverence of God is a deep aspect of our character, a God given ethic, a way of looking at and responding to the universe. This "fear of God" causes the humans who possess it to look up at the stars in wonder rather than in despair, to value life, people, and living things. It is a world view for living a positive life. The reverence of God lights up our existence, it encourages us away from self destruction. It is the foundation of success for individuals, and the basis for peaceful societies and nations.
The negative aspect of fear is a very different thing. It causes us to freeze up in misunderstanding. Jesus talked about a man who buried his talents because he thought God was a hard master.
A grasp of God's love is what brings negative fear into perspective. When we realize that the coming of Jesus was an expression of God's love for us, and that even as we killed Him, He did nothing but forgive, then it is not difficult to begin to see God as loving. The words "fear not" appear countless times all over scripture.
Dead religion is much harder on us than God is. Dead religion probably creates most of our fear towards God. We also have a tendency to feel guilty and guilt brings about fear. The guilt that most Christians feel results from a misunderstanding of the character of God.
If you fear God because you think you have failed Him, then welcome to the human race. We have all failed Him, and yet He loves us more than we can imagine. Fear melts into awe when we realize who He really is.