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“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

It is natural and good to be cautious and fear some things. Having no fear can be bad. Have you seen videos of people jumping out of an airplane without a parachute? Natural fear can prevent injury and protect you and people around you.

The word fear comes from the Greek word phobos, which means fear or horror. A phobia is an unreasonable fear of something that probably will not cause harm. People are afraid of…

● snakes (ophidiophobia),
● thunder (tonitrophobia),
● technology (technophobia),
● computers (cyberphobia),
● being ridiculed (catagelophobia),
● cooking (mageirocophobia),
● people (anthropophobia), and even
● fear of phobias (phobophobia).

Perfect love stops unreasonable fear. Children may fear punishment when they have done wrong, but they should not have to fear unreasonable punishment. When I was a child, my dad told me not to go near the creek in my Sunday clothes. When I disobeyed and went to the creek, Dad punished me. Wow! I remember – ouch! But I knew dad would not harm me because of the kind of love he had for me. Punishment is not for revenge, but is to prevent repeating disobedience. With correct parental love, children do not fear for their safety. But what is correct love – love that does not cause fear?

Perfect Love – Nobody is perfect and without flaws. The word perfect means mature, full, and at the right level of maturity. (Example: A ten-year-old is not mature enough to drive a car. But, hopefully, when he is 18, he has enough maturity to be trusted to drive. Hopefully he will continue to mature into a very good driver.) Also, you know you are perfect (mature), when you can speak without offending people (James 3:2). Mature love does not create unreasonable fear.

Common Fears – Some of the most reported fears are atychiphobia (fear of failure), glossophobia (fear of public speaking), and xenophobia (fear of strangers, foreigners, or the unknown).

Glossophobia can make you timid or shy. It is common to fear what others may say about you. Public speaking may be the most common fear. Prove it. Ask for volunteers to give a testimony in church!

Xenophobia, fearing the unknown, is the unreasonable fear of strangers or the unknown. In our deaf ministry we notice that many hearing people fear trying to communicate with Deaf people. I call this fear Deaf-phobia. The unknown is real: “What if they do not understand me? What if I say something bad with my fingers? What do they mean by the note they wrote? What if I make a mistake?” – Remember that Deaf people are people, too. They live in a silent world with many shy hearing people around them. Break their isolation. Do not be afraid to communicate. Deafphobia is an unreasonable fear. Overcome Deaf-phobia.

Evangelophobia – (Yes, I made up that word.) This is the fear of sharing the Gospel. The word Gospel means good news. It is unreasonable to fear sharing good news. Prove it. Tell a woman not to talk about her new engagement ring. She cannot be silent.

Think Right – Wrong thinking can make you afraid. If you think about becoming afraid, you can become afraid. The word fear can also mean dread (greatly afraid) or to be shy and timid (2 Timothy 1:7). Phobias, fear, dread, and being shy and timid all come from wrong thinking. Change your fear by changing your thinking. Right thinking is a decision. You can decide to think on right things (Philippians 4:8) and not to think about your fears. Overcoming fear can be a long process. John Newton, who wrote the hymn, Amazing Grace, said, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”

Decide to overcome unreasonable fears and a shy and timid spirit. Trust God daily to help you learn and grow. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear (timid, shy); but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (right thinking)” (2 Timothy 1:7). Do you want to overcome? Think right and fear not!

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