Gustave Dore - 1861-1868 for Dante's Divine Comedy
Fear is the antithesis of Faith. It is the negation of confidence. Like Faith, fear may be conscious or subjective, and if it is to be eliminated, it must be removed both consciously and subjectively.
,,,Science of Mind Glossary - Page 593
To be truly faithful in anything we must trust. Fear and trust cannot exist in the same space. Fear drives judgment, oppression, hoarding and so many similar negative conditions. Trust or Faith drives hope, compassion, acceptance and positive conditions.
Fear the Lord or Revere the Lord?
Psalms 25:14 says, “The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them." Many Christians will explain such statements as evidence that fear of God shows faith. Another view presented however comes from the actual meaning of “fear” in Hebrew. A literal translation of the word “yareh” brings a new understanding. Yareh encompasses such meanings as reverence, respect, honor and awe.
Lois A. Tverberg, Ph.D. states, “Rabbinically, the "fear of the LORD" was considered one of the greatest goals of a worshipper's life. It means to always be reminded that God is watching, and to realize the importance of living according to his will, and to be reassured of his constant care. It does mean to realize that God will discipline those whom he loves (Revelation 3:19). But, the emphasis is on a positive, reverential relationship with God, not in terms of being terrified by him. If having a reverential awe of the Lord causes us to live with integrity and obedience to God, it will ultimately transform us.”
To behave in a certain manner out of fear conjures images of a broken spirit. The tactic of “breaking down to build up” whether involving parent and child, rider and horse, sergeant and soldier, etc. may force respect but does not encourage reverence. Conversely a desire to please derived from natural respect, love or reverence is one of truth, born from within.
What we fear is what we experience
Aristotle said “Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.” When we are obsessed with all that might harm us or all that we do not want we are making an assumption that those things are already in our future. As we manifest those fears into monsters we begin to look for experiences that support those assumptions. When we allow ourselves to be bound by fear we move ourselves further away from the Divine and find it more difficult to have Faith. Doubt creeps in whenever fear has taken over.
To have faith in anything requires a knowing free from doubt that the truth is evident. Fear creates doubt, deceit and discomfort…none of which have a place in a spiritual life.
Break the chains of fear
If we are to advance as a society into a more gentle, peaceful existence we must begin to eliminate fear as a means of control. As the spiritual community looks at ways to advance the agenda of goodness it must face its own use of fear. Break the chain of fear and we will break the chain of envy, judgment, oppression and so many other societal negatives. Intelligent individuals are drawn to a spiritual environment because of the way it resonates with their personal views not out of fear or guilt.
Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.