Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Be Afraid

This morning I went over to the YMCA to get some exercise before I came into the office. I chose to start my routine on the eliptical machine. I love this machine because of the intense workout I get; however, it’s placement meant I was stuck looking at a wall of television sets. Most mornings I don’t mind – I catch up on my Sportscenter while I work out. However, this morning, the TVs were all tuned to the various morning news shows. On one TV, a Republican presidential candidate was telling the interviewer that, if President Obama was reelected, disaster and mayhem was soon to follow. At the same time, on another TV, a Democratic Senator was saying that if the Republicans won the White House, disaster and mayhem would follow.

Gotta love an election year. As for me, I closed my eyes, turned on my iPod, and listened to Steven Curtis Chapman.

The next few months, the voting public will be inundated with doom and gloom messages of what will happen if “the other side” wins. I sometimes feel like we are told less about what and who we are voting for and more about what our vote could prevent from happening. In a day and age when so many are living with daily uncertainty about their jobs, their children’s education, and unrest all over the world, the politics of fear seems to be the tool of choice for motivating voters to get to the polls.

As I listened to Steven Curtis Chapman on my iPod singing about God’s love and grace, it got me to thinking: does God have anything to say to a world that is constantly told, “Be afraid, be very afraid”?

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? – Psalm 27:1

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” – Luke 2:10-11

Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you … - 1 Peter 3:14-15

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:18-19

Obviously we will all be making choices when we reach the poll booth this year. However, there are even more important choices that we must make each and every day. Will we choose fear, or will choose salvation, joy, hope, and love? God has given us another option to fear, and Christ is the fulfillment of that option.

We have an opportunity as the body of Christ to change the conversation, to change the attitude of society. We can let Christ be our light and salvation, we can bring good news of great joy to all people, we can give an account of our hope in Christ, we can love as Christ loved us. These are the most important choices we will make this year and any year.