Phobia
Thursday, July 15, 2010

“They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey Him.” (Mark 4:41)   

             Yesterday, as I was traveling down the road I heard a new word – Islamiphobe.  It was used to describe the “irrational” fear of unenlightened American right wingers who do not want a Muslim mosque at the site of World Trade Center.  In other words, because I think such an action is degradation to families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 Islamist attack on the World Trade Center, I am an Islamiphobe.   That seems to be the norm for the politically correct.  Whenever we object to some moral wrong, they say we are a phobe of some sort or another.  So if we believe homosexual behavior is morally wrong, we are not exercising our judgment based on 4000 year of Judeo-Christian teaching.  We are “homophobes.”  The derivative of the word phobe comes from the ancient Greek word, phobia,  which means fear.  So therefore, my reasoning according to the politically correct for not wanting an Islamic mosque erected near the site of the WTC or the reason I don’t want homosexuality taught to my grandchildren as a norm is that I have an irrational fear of Muslims or homosexuals.  Of course I object.                There is a very healthy fear for Christians that I believe drives me to make the objections above.  It is the fear of God.  The modern church teaches that fear of God means to hold God in awe.  And yes in some cases it is used that way in Scripture – but not usually.  Normally, the fear of God is couched as a phobia of God – even more than that a “hyper-phobia.”  Take the example of the time the disciples were traveling across the Sea of Galilee when a storm blew in.  The winds and the waves began to put their lives in danger – and they were afraid.  They were experiencing phobia.  Jesus was in the boat with them and He did not seem to care. In the disciple’s minds Jesus was showing an irrational behavior in such circumstances.  He simply slept in the midst of the storm.  They feared death, and the One in whom they had put their trust, slept.  But notice, they were only afraid.  Something else happened which elevated that fear from normal fearing of the elements to terror (or Greek hyper-phobia).  

              Jesus got up from His nap, sadly looked upon His disciples and said, “O you of little faith.”  And He spoke the words to the wind and the waves – “Peace! Be still.”  And the Sea of Galilee turned to glass.  Not a whisper of wind or the sign of a wave.  And instead of the disciples clapping and celebrating the intervention of God which saved their lives, their fear only escalated.  They went from phobia to hyper-phobia.  You see, in the storm they experienced the normal fear of the elements.  But when they realized their lack of faith in the presence of the Holy God, the normal phobia of the elements escalated to a hyper-phobia of the One True God.  When they realized that they didn’t trust the very One who is ultimately trustworthy, real terror set in.  And they scream, “What manner of Man is this, even the winds and the waves obey Him?”  

              I do not fear Islam.  I fear for their souls and I pray they would see the love and power of Christ and come to Him.  I don’t fear practicing homosexuals, but I fear they miss the passages which say they will not enter the Kingdom of God and without repentance experience eternal separation from God.  But no, I don’t fear them.   And I do fear the teachings of both groups and the influence they have on an unsuspecting culture (and my grandchildren).  But I don’t fear them.  There is One, however, whom I do fear – Jesus Christ.  I have a very healthy hyper-phobia for the One who saved me.  I am obedient to the New Testament teaching of working out my salvation with fear and trembling.  I don’t fear for my salvation, but I do fear that my life will be a disappointment to the One who died for me.  I don’t fear for my life, but I fear my life is not worthy of the One who gave me life.  I don’t fear my sins are unforgiven, but I do fear He sees the unforgiveness in my heart.  I am driven to hyper-phobia because of all the things that God has done for me in Christ Jesus is treated by me with a casual wink to sin.  He has quieted the winds and waves in my pathway, and like the disciples, I have not placed my faith accordingly.   

             Phobia!  Yes, I have phobia.  I fear the Lord.  But that is good news, because” the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  The disciples did not complete their journey that day – they truly began it.  Once the revelation of the divinity of Christ was revealed, the true discipleship began.  What the politically correct don’t understand is that my objection to the unrighteous is not fear of the unrighteous but fear of God.  And I count that fear as healthy.


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