Fear itself


Matthew 5:21-26: So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.
 
A current analyst says that “the most dangerous development [in the persistence of terrorism] is the Islamophobia that’s taken root in the U.S.”
 
Fear causes division and unwise, irrational action, so the fear of another person or people feeds on itself. The more we fear, the more we take action against, and failure to see the humanity of another person brings disquiet, not peace.
 
Matthew’s Gospel speaks of the need to reconcile with a “brother or sister who has something against you” before stepping up to worship God. Our love of other people lives out, in tangible form, the love we have for God. We cannot have a full life of loving and seeking God without loving our neighbors.
 
Human nature often seeks to divide, to gravitate toward people like us and to distance ourselves from people whose appearance, culture, or faith we fear. It requires hard work, guided by the Holy Spirit and by the example of Jesus, to embrace people who are not like us. It sounds logical, that we should make other people hate and fear the people we fear.
 
But it is not God’s way, and it cannot be our way to seek a God of loving kindness.
 
 
Psalm 80; 2 Kings 5:1-19a; 1 Corinthians 4:8-21
Copyright 2017 by Carol Mead. For noncommercial use and sharing only. For more information on this ministry, and on a free subscription to these meditations, please go to the website (www.holyordinary.com).

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