Greetings in the name of the one who said ‘Fear Not’
The words ‘fear not’, are found 365 times in the Scriptures. That is a ‘fear not’ for every day of the year!
Visiting the Donkey Sanctuary a few years ago, I learned one particular difference between donkeys and horses. The tour guide pointed out that horses have a herd instinct, and when they are fearful, they will all run away together. Donkeys, on the other hand, are in survival mode, and much more individualistic and they will tend to stand their ground. They are ready to fight. This is why donkeys are sometimes used as guardian animals for sheep and goats.
Flight, fight or freeze? I tend to ‘freeze’ when facing a perceived threat. My wife Margaret loves to tell the story of when we encountered a bear with a cub, on the Bruce Trail about 10 years ago. My eyes got as wide as saucers, she says. Then I went quickly into retreat mode! These are natural responses to threatening situations.
When it comes to human social interactions, we can experience the same responses of flight, fight, or freeze. For example, we may turn away from a bully(flight), or we lash out(fight), or we do nothing but watch(freeze). It may be better to just say, ‘Stop! Why are you doing this?’ or ‘What you are doing is hurting someone, but you must be struggling too.’
Fear is an obstacle to kindness & compassion. Fear can stop us in our tracks and prevent us from taking kind action, from being the person we want to be and making the choices we want to make. That is probably why Jesus said, ‘Fear Not’. Paul the Apostle, in his second note to young Timothy said, 6 I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. As we live our lives, the challenge as God’s people is not to live by knee-jerk reactions, but to be guided by the Spirit, and moved by compassion, not fear.
May we be ‘moved with compassion’, not fear in these days.