Monday, September 30, 2013

The Fear Factor

Monday – September 30, 2013

I’ve always been intrigued by the great speeches – Lincoln at Gettysburg, President John Kennedy’s inaugural “…ask not what your country can do for you…”  And, of course there is Franklin Roosevelt’s first inaugural address (1933), which contained a phrase that is ingrained in American history:  “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

While that sentence is oft-repeated, it is hardly ever finished.  Check out the full line:
“…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”[1]

Of course President Roosevelt on that Inauguration Day faced the Great Depression; and his greatest concern was how to lift American hearts out of the fear and malaise brought on by financial ruin.  The “advance” he was seeking was a return to economic stability.  Fear runs counter to a heart for investment risk. 

Actually fear runs counter to any kind of “heart-healthiness”.  But, nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror…that is fear ramped-up to new heights!

And it’s scheduled for October 31st!

Halloween has always been my least favorite holiday.  I just don’t get it – how people love to be scared.  Scary movies, haunted houses….BOO!  It’s beyond my comprehension.
And let us not forget “Fear Factor”!  You remember the TV show?  Now, there’s an attractive mess – jumping off into who knows what, blindfolded – so you can win the round and go on to eat the eyeball sandwich on the next show.  Whoa….what a blessing!  Shall we (if we so presume) add to Mr. Roosevelt’s speech, nameless, unjustified, unnecessary terror!

Don’t be a “party-pooper” Russell!

Sorry!  Can’t help it!

Now, I’m not going to write your name in the “evil-book” if you dress your kids in costume and head out to “Trick or Treat,” or have a party.  My point is simply that it is a pretty weak substitute for Christian witness to put all that energy, time and resources into something meant to scare people so we can laugh at them for being scared.

There is enough fear and humiliation in this world; followers of Christ live by a different standard.

So….is it the eyeball sandwich that I fear?  Well…it doesn’t help!


Find a way to help someone overcome fear – encouragement is a powerful source of the kind of love that expels fear (1 John 4:18) from our lives.

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