By Amy McCollom
At the peak of the Great Depression, this country awaited with great anticipation what the new president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was going to say and do to alleviate the suffering of the day and to promote a promise for the future. Fear did abound, and rightfully so, but the new president took on the fear as he would an enemy in wartime and rallied every American as an ally against the foe. Feel familiar?
On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke great, inspiring words in his famous inaugural speech which began; “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief, that we have nothing to fear, but fear itself; nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. ” He summoned the help of every American to turn their fear into bravery, and to view the plight of the situation in America as a direct attack, as if a silent enemy had attacked from foreign shores. It was war, in his eyes; a war that could be won. He went on to turn the country around and helped bring our country out of a great depression. We have the same principal today, only we need some fear of the right kind.
Fear can be turned into a furious weapon. Fear raises the adrenaline and increases our strength. It opens up our hidden reserves of power, intelligence, and might. Fear, when faced, makes one courageous. It turns men into heroes, and women into heroines. There is no bravery without fear. Fear is needful to keep us doing what will help us and keep us safe.
As a society there is one fear that has gone missing, though, and that has become the downfall of our world. The first fear; the fear of God. Adam walked with God daily. There was no fear when there was no sin. After the devil deceived Eve, and Adam also sinned, they felt fear for the first time. Sin birthed the fear of God. You can even say that their eyes were opened. That is why the Bible says that the Fear Of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Paraphrasing, ignorance was bliss before the knowledge of good and evil put the weight of that knowledge on mankind’s shoulders. But now we know and we will be held accountable for what we know.
Unless we are psychopaths, now we know when we are doing right or wrong. We have a conscience that was put in us by God to remind us that He sees and knows everything we do, say, and think. We should feel guilt and shame sometimes. We should know when God is pleased or displeased with us, if we are honest with ourselves. We should be afraid of what God thinks about that. We need that fear of God to keep us repentant and on good terms with God.
If we fear God, and keep ourselves close to Him, then He will take care of all of our problems. He promises that. There will be nothing else to fear, except displeasing God. God will take care of us. That is the benefit of living under the sheltering wings of our Almighty God. That is the peace of God. If God be for us, who can be against us!
Today though, look around at what people are doing. Does anyone fear God anymore? Does anyone fear or respect their parents, or teachers, or elders, or authority? It doesn’t appear that too many people have fear or respect for God or anyone. Why is that?
Today, narcissism and pride are applauded, along with other rebellious traits. Online living has turned people into amplified versions of their worst selves. It has created egotistical opinionated monsters, and armies of them. People are fighting in the streets for causes they do not even care about, just to be a part of something, for the simple fear of missing out.
Fear and respect go hand in hand. Respect for others and for certain standards of living were just a given in my generation. You didn’t run the streets at night. You didn’t act a fool in public. You didn’t run down sidewalks, or in stores, or talk loud in public. For one thing, your mama would clobber you if you acted like a nut and embarrassed her. And I wouldn’t dare act up in a church. That was God’s house. I was afraid of getting struck down by lightning or grabbed by an elderly person’s cold boney hand. I knew to be reverent, I could feel it. Plus other adults were willing to let me know if I was acting out of line. We need more people to speak up, hush the unruly, give ornery ones the evil” eye”, maybe sit a child down a time or two. Parents, be parents. Teach kids to respect others and their property. You are the boss, not the baby. We cannot let the children dictate how church is going to be for children. We must teach them how children are to be in church.
I was taken aback recently when I went to Casey’s to buy donuts and the store clerk thanked me for being honest when she asked me how many donuts I had in the box. I noticed the prices when I was boxing them up, and realized the apple fritter cost a little more than the other donuts. I told the clerk that one donut was a fritter, and the other five were regular donuts. “Well, thank you for being honest.” she said. It never entered my mind to be anything but honest. I have the fear of God in me.
Imagine if more people were fearful of God. Maybe fewer people would be busting out storefront windows and stealing or destroying property that isn’t theirs. Maybe there would be more kind words one towards another. Maybe neighbors would help neighbors. Maybe churches would go back to being houses of prayer instead of social clubs with coffee bars. Maybe young people would treat elders with respect and be at home more with their families around a supper table. Maybe fewer unwanted babies would be conceived or killed out of convenience. Maybe politicians would keep their promises and make changes for the betterment of the people. Thieves wouldn’t steal, liars wouldn’t lie, and cheaters wouldn’t cheat. Maybe more people would fear eternity and decide to change their life around.
You see, fear can be a very good thing. The fear of the Lord, that is. That is what we all need, again. So be afraid, be very afraid. Then enjoy the safety of an awesome God.
(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)