How do you react when you are afraid? Human beings seem to be hardwired to react in one of two ways: fight or flight. It goes back to the reptilian part of our brain - the amygdala - that is programmed to either attack or run away when we feel threatened. This may have been very useful when our ancestors heard the roar of a lion out in the wild, but today it often gets in the way and causes us to react in fight or flight - neither of which may be helpful.
Skye Jethani, author of the book Futureville, which we talked about in our recent "Three Things That Last Forever" sermon series, recently blogged about how Christians have reacted to the perceived downturn in our culture by either getting in political fights to try to change the culture, or by choosing to withdraw when the culture seems headed away from Christian values. However, Jethani suggest a third way - STAY. Stay engaged and a part of this world -- even if it seems to be moving in the wrong direction.
Maybe we need to remember the words from the Bible that tell us, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son . . ." (John 3:16) If God chose not to give up on our world, then maybe neither should we. When it comes to fear and feeling threatened, there may be a few occasions when fight or flight are the best options, but most of the time I believe we are called to stay engaged. There are better choices in the face of fear than only fight or flight. And remember the words of Psalm 23: "Even though I walk through valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because you are with me."
Prayer for Today
Gracious God, when we face fear, give us the wisdom to know when we should move beyond our most basic reactions of fight and flight. Help us to remember we can trust you and not give into our fears. Give us the courage to stay, stand strong, and show the love of Christ - even to our enemy. And by your grace, may our enemies be transformed into our friends. We pray this in the strong name of Jesus - our Friend. Amen.