Fear is multi-directional. It is very powerful. You do not have to have it yourself to suffer from it!
Fear is the opposite of love. It has a healthy basis. If we have no fear, then we can become easy prey to danger.
As I was driving today, there were birds on the road. As I approached, they could see my white car approaching and flew away to safety.
A healthy sense of fear can stop us from making stupid and unnecessary dangerous decisions.
However, fear can also be the cause of much unhealthy behaviour. I remember reflecting on a book by Henri Newman called ‘Reaching Out’ that one of the important steps in the spiritual journey is to move from ‘hostility to hospitality’.
Hostility to others finds its roots in fear. Sure hostility to injustice, unjust aggressors, actions that disadvantage the powerless, etc. can indeed be a good thing.
However, hostility towards another because of prejudice, some past historical event, because they make different choices from ourselves, etc. can lead to so much heartache!
I have been reflecting on myself recently about some of my reactions. At times, I find a certain anger arising in me because someone disagrees with me.
Sometimes they might even be unreasonable in something that they react to and I don’t like it.
However, I ‘do not need to sweat the small stuff”!
Sure, there are times when I need to speak out. However, often I do not need to! It really does not matter in the light of the big picture.
So many times insecurity and fear about self-image can cause so much misery and unhappiness.
St. John reminds us that love drives away fear!
The more that I am convinced of God’s unconditional love for me, and for all of creation, the less I will be controlled by fear, and the more hospitable to others I become!