Fear is Not Sin
By Pastor Dennis Yim
New Testament Verse: Matthew 6:34
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
During this time of shelter-in-place, I’ve noticed many people say “do not fear because fear is sin.” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that or seen that on social media, but over and over again that statement doesn’t sit well with me. I’m part of an Asian American Christian Collective that has come together to provide resources for the church on how to deal with the dark realities of racism that continues to plague our country. It’s sad to read countless of stories of how Asian-Americans are being verbally and physically attacked for something that they are not responsible for. Even for myself, I find myself wrestling with my own fears when I go out for a quick grocery run. I don’t think I’ve every prayed so much for my family’s protection, especially in a country where everyone is supposedly treated and viewed “equally.” All of this has forced me to wrestle with this concept of “fear is sin.” I honestly believe it isn’t.
Whenever we read passages in the Bible where the Lord says “do not fear,” we need to understand that He knows that we would still be fearful. Yes, Jesus knew that we would be fearful, but He gives us His word so that we can find comfort because He is the God who would be with us at all times – that is part of His covenantal promise to us. Dr. Ed Welch from Christian Counseling and Education Foundation wrote:
We had a family living with us and I had a nice relationship with their five year-old son. One day we were playing in our backyard and I thought he might enjoy a walk through the woods that are right behind us. It would be an adventure. I put him on my shoulders and off we went. Within the first five steps, he began to cry. I responded, “Don’t be afraid. I am big and I will make sure you are safe.” It meant nothing to him, and he cried harder. But I didn’t interpret it as rebellion. He was being a five-year-yold. When we say “don’t be afraid “to our children, it is the equivalent of “I am here; everything will be okay” If our children continue to cry, we don’t rebuke them. We hold them. [JBC 34.1 (2020):7-19]
Let’s not dismiss each other’s fears. Take the time to listen to them. Don’t give cliché sayings because honestly, they don’t do anything. Help the one who is living in fear to bring them to Christ. Help them to know that Jesus is with them, walking with them, caring for them, and constantly saying to them, “do not fear” for He is holding them in His arms during these difficult and trying times.