Because Scary Works

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I loved my Political Science class in college. There is a bit of an activist in me and I found the debate energizing. I loved getting riled up and setting out to prove someone wrong. Perhaps not the healthiest attitude and I'd like to think I've grown since then, but at my core is a passionate and opinionated woman who would like to set the world right again.

In college, my research included articles that were also passionate and opinionated and, of course, passionate and opinionated authors that thought like me. Today, I allow myself to be challenged by varying opinions and I allow myself to try on different filters to see if any nuggets of truth can be found after the rush of information passes through them. I am seeking truth.  

Something I've been trying to do lately is ask myself, is this fear-driven? Not ask if it's neutral or unbiased, but fear-driven. Whether it be an article, scripture interpretation, sermon, or the sounding board of Facebook, does the information incite fear? 

I took some screen shots of a few headlines:




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Where's my bomb shelter?! My country, no, the entire world is right now at war against me because I'm a Christian! Never mind the fact that I have non-Christian friends and family who would incur physical harm to save my life. The death penalty is returning, even though 32 states still have it, as well as the U.S. Government and U.S. Military. The USA is going to collapselike, SOON!..and what's more, the entire world is going to collapse--the Bible says so--and we better put a stop to it NOW! (Wait. The Bible says it's going to happen, so we should stop it? I'll let that rest for now.) And, as if that wasn't bad enough, I need to get my kids some camouflage and teach them how to handle a machine gun! Heck, I need to teach myself how to handle a machine gun! I'm in so much trouble!

We're all going to die because of the liberals!

We're all going to die because of the conservatives!

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I'll admit that the majority these headlines are one-sided. I literally spent hours trying to find articles on both sides, but the truth is that what struck fear in me is what I'm already afraid of. Having grown up on Apocalyptical teachings and being a moderate conservative, I'm susceptible to it. Not so much with liberal headlines. It doesn't scare me to think that the world will end without the Mark of the Beast or that we'll have a Republican in Congress. 

These headlines feed on my fears, not on my ability to discern truth. Fear is the cheap trick they use to lure me in and trap me into feelings of anger and distrust. They massage my emotions and stroke my vulnerability to keep me coming to any conclusion but their own. I'm positive that there are headlines that do the same for Bible-unbelievers and liberals.

In my search, I've found that truth does not lie in fear. Is there a nugget of truth in a fear-driven article? Yes, but often times it's so riddled with half-truths that it's harder to sort out the facts from the fears.

And what does this preying mentality do to mankind? We don't love each other; we fear each other. We don't respect each other because we don't trust each other. We give only a little bit of room for disagreement because, well, the fate of the world is at stake! 

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been made perfect in love." I John 4:18

If I am to find truth, I cannot look for it in fear. 

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head." Ephesians 4:15

If I am to find truth, I need to find it in the voices of love. The voices of love will not cause me to fear.

Fear is so powerful and prevalent that not only will there always be a ready supply of it in arguments, sermons, articles, etc., but we will always be susceptible to it. So then, how can we help to diminish our fear and disrespect for one another? How can we create in ourselves an attitude of humility and foster a means to strengthen our community?

Ask yourself, "What are they afraid of?" 

Perhaps the greatest tool we have at our disposal is empathy. It has the power to disarm and the potential to change the world, even amidst the uncertainty of it's future. It brings strength to our relationships, it brings healing, and it dares to forgive. 

If we can ask ourselves that one little question, "What are they afraid of?" we might find in ourselves the humility to approach the subject differently with a mind bent on understanding, a heart moved to advance humanity, and the maturity to figure out what is true. 

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