My generation has grown up in a world that has increasingly operated on hyperbolic fear. It began when planes ran into towers and continued when shooters entered schools. This overwhelming worry about impending doom from exterior evil has been commodified by cable news networks that not only stir up fear but then leverage it for ratings.
Earlier this year I explored how fear often leads to anxiety, which can be a crippling malaise on people who struggle with it. Fear can cripple us to the point where we no longer muster up a fight, instead, we just give into the faceless enemy.
After last year’s election I stopped watching and reading from cable news networks. There’s no question my life is noticeably better since then. I have fewer worries. The latest headline news rarely reverberates in my head, leading to sleepless nights. You might say, my privilege affords me the opportunity to not be overly informed, but to that, I would simply ask how being informed has benefitted you?
There’s plenty of worry to go around without cable news overflowing your fear bucket. Fires in California. Missile tests in North Korea. Shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs. KKK marches in Charlottesville. I haven’t even mentioned the continuous fight along the lines of partisan politics.
I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re learning how to wrestle with societal problems apart from people, and the ramification is a fractured society of people who cannot relate to others who are not them. And when we can’t relate to or understand those who are different from us, fear takes over.
This past year we sang a song at my church that includes these lyrics in the bridge:
Where there was death, You brought life, Lord
Where there was fear, You brought courage
When I was afraid, You were with me
And You lifted me up, and You lifted me up
The words are a reminder to us that fear is a liar, and God overcomes it by giving us the courage we find lacking on our own. As Doomsday Theology continues to be taught in various Christian circles, we turn our backs to fear, learning to value those who are different than us, and in turn, we bring the light of God’s Kingdom into the darkness of our daily existence.
Dear friends, be light. Do not fear. God has overcome and is overcoming.