what fear does to us

“Fear is not evil. It is not a vice. It is not wrong to fear, but excessive or disordered fear can tempt us to vices such as cowardice, sloth, rage, and violence. It can also inhibit virtuous actions such as hospitality, peace-making and generosity. … While fear itself may not be evil, disordered fear can certainly create the opportunity and (apparent) justification for great evil. Fear is a moral issue insofar as it shapes the kind of people we become, and the kind of people we become has a lot to do with how we see the world around us. …

“By imagining some future evil, fear draws us in on ourselves so that we ‘extend’ ourselves to ‘fewer things.’ This, in turn, becomes a hindrance to Christian discipleship, which calls us not to contract but to expand, not to limit ourselves to a few things but to open ourselves charitably and generously to many things, not to attack that which threatens us but to love even the enemy. Fear tempts us to make safety and self-preservation our highest goals, and when we do so our moral focus becomes the protection of our lives and health.”

Following Jesus in a Culture Full of Fear by Scott Bader-Saye (Brazos Press, 2007), pp.26,28

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