The real enemy is fear

On Tuesday, America voted its fear.

Fear of Trump. Fear of Clinton. Fear of everything those two people represent to those who fear them. Fear of persecution. Fear of economic loss. Fear of the loss of freedom. Each of those are losses feared almost equally by both sides.

As Stephen Colbert highlighted in his election night monologue: “More than 4 in 10 people believe that the other party’s policies are so misguided they pose a threat to the nation.

And more than 55% of Democrats say the Republican party makes them afraid — and 49% of the Republican party says the Democrats make them afraid.”

That’s real fear. And it’s not a one-sided fear. It comes from both. And now that Trump has won, one side is expressing its fear. That doesn’t mean the other side’s fear is gone, just that it’s held back by Trump’s victory.

Is there some validity to the fears of either side? Probably. But not to the degree they fear it. If your political party loses, some things aren’t going to go your way. That’s a given. But that doesn’t mean the bottom is going to fall out.

The problem with fear is its tendency to demonize opponents.

Beyond that, for those of us who claim to follow Jesus, there’s another problem with fear:

Fear is practical atheism.

If there is a God …

If God loves the world he made …

If God enters into and intervenes for the world to save it …

If God is willing to suffer death himself in order to save us …

If God has created a new kind of humanity, filled them with his very own Spirit, and mobilized them for the healing of the world …

If God hasn’t given up on the world but is moving things toward his good and lovingly victorious future …

Then living in fear is a rejection of this God.

Fear rejects the reality of God, the goodness of God, the power of God to save, and the hope that God will achieve his purposes despite the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Without belief in God, I understand this fear. I get projecting current circumstances onto the future — when things are going well, the future is bright; when things are going bad, the future is dark. But if there is a good God who has the power to intervene and move his purposes forward, those who worship him need to return from fear to faith, hope, and love.

[Dealing with fear by living in love]