Wednesday, April 1, 2020

What Is Fear?

What is Fear?

I shared a comment on Facebook today from Dr. John Stanko that said, “Many voices are vying for your attention right now; avoid ANY that foster fear or anger, even if they quote the Bible!” I like this comment because it speaks to me about where I place my faith. It is in God, alone.

A friend of mine asked for my definition of fear. He then referred to healthcare workers during this current coronavirus outbreak being concerned for their health and and the health of their patients, indicating their “fear” to be legitimate.

I totally agree, in this context, that there is a place for “concern,” which can be classified as fear. However, fear has many definitions and applications. That is one of the problems with English. We are already two levels deep in the potential for problems with communication: 1) I read the post by Dr. Stanko (I have not spoken with him, so I cannot be certain what he meant), 2) I re-posted the comment implying my understanding of what I meant by “fear,” 3) Those who read my re-post read it through their lens and their definition of what they believe I meant by “fear.”

This is why I am very slow to argue with anyone on the platform of social media. Through the sometimes terse, or even curt, exchanges there is little opportunity to truly gain understanding of what the true intended message is.

So, in attempt to answer my friend's question, here is what I believe Dr. Stanko meant by his original post, and why I shared it on my Facebook feed.

First of all, a little about Dr. Stanko. This man's passion is to help others find and walk in their purpose. He seizes any opportunity to challenge others, and even provoke them to search for their purpose. It is sad that so many wander through their existence and never tap into their purpose. Dr. Stanko was speaking on these lines when he made the above-quoted statement.

In these days of quarantine, there are many people trying to get attention for various and sundry reasons. Many have good intentions of helping people stay safe and manage the chaos that has gripped the world. Some have selfish intentions to promote their notoriety or a particular cause. Regardless of the intent, anyone who resorts to scare tactics in order to manipulate people is wrong. The primary weapon that many of these use is fear. By amplifying the uncertainty of the situation many can be prodded into a knee-jerk reaction based solely on fear; fear for themselves or those they love.

To me, this is the same as terrorism. The goal of terrorism is not necessarily to harm you. Instead, if they can make a very public display of harming others, it will instill in you a fear that can immobilize, and even harm you, without ever attacking you personally. This is the fear that I believe has no place in our society. Whether it comes from a terrorist or a minister, fear has no place.

We should heed the warnings from learned people that give their best guess as to what might occur with the current pandemic. We should heed the edicts of our governmental leaders and follow the law of our land. However, we do not have to give in to a fear of the future, regardless of what our senses present to us because there is always hope of a better outcome. There is always the possibility of things changing, of the experts being wrong, or that creative people will find new ways to circumvent, prevent, or cure the effects of this nasty thing called COVID-19.

I choose to have hope. I choose to not live in fear. I choose to continue to live my life.