Fear Enslaves.

The tragic and senseless killing in the Church in South Carolina this week demonstrates how fear, left unresolved, turns to absolute hatred and disregard for everything, even human life. Hatred, prejudice, bigotry, intolerance and all those acts that seek to belittle, diminish, negate or eliminate the value of others are so often born of fear. It is an irrational, unfounded, unsubstantiated fear, but it is fear. Far too many people succumb to such fear and point the finger of blame at others who often have nothing to do with the other’s fear. Nine people of God died needlessly because someone pointed an accusatory finger at them and decided that his imagined problems were their fault. Killing those nine innocent people did nothing to eliminate or satisfy the thirst caused by fear. All this senseless act did was to cause heartache for those who loved those people who gathered to open themselves up to God’s Word in Scripture. Those nine people had fears too, we all do. But they decided that fear was not going to enslave them. Fear was not going to fill them with hatred. Fear was not going to win. They wanted something better to fill them. Those nine people who died must now stand as a reminder that we all have to make a choice – give in to fear and be filled with all the emotions that eat away at our ability to recognize and respect humanity or believe that there is a better way. I pray that signs that encourage fear will one day be found only in museums as a sign of what happens when we choose to feed our fears. Let us pray for the families of those who died – may they be comforted by the same words that their loved ones were studying. Let us pray for an end to hatred, bigotry and prejudice. Let us pray for a change of heart for those who belittle, diminish, negate or devalue the worth of others.
It is rather ironic that a fearful person sat with those who were studying God’s Word, had he but opened his heart to God’s message, he might have found the way to gain back his freedom but he chose to close himself off from everything that could have saved him. If he had just allowed a little crack in the door to his heart, God could have flooded it with understanding. Now he has discovered that the appetite of hatred is fierce – eventually it even consumes the one who feeds it. When fear presents itself, may each one of us have strength and courage to refuse to feed it and instead open our hearts to God. 

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