I heard a psychologist talk about dealing with the “psychological wounds” following the tornadic storms last April in 2011. While I do not disagree about the pain involved in the aftermath of these storms, his choice of words is wrong here.
The victims are now primarily dealing with real fear. He couldn’t call it “fear” because that would’ve been perceived as “uncaring” and “too simplistic” but the bottom line is that people are afraid.
Fear is a good emotion that protects us. When we fear driving too fast on a winding, mountainous road, that keeps us safe. It is righteous in this sense meaning it has a right purpose ordained by God.
Fear can interfere in our lives when it is sinful and interferes with our obedience to God. If God commands us to do something in His Word and we choose not to due to willful disobedience motivated by sinful fear, then we are held accountable for this by God. We must overcome fear by trusting in God’s perfect love for us and with a view of eternity in focus.
The ESV in I John 4:18 states: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
I wish the psychologist had labeled the problem correctly because then the problem could be solved correctly: by Christ’s love for us in light of eternity and not this temporal life.
-Mark (fear is a good thing that protects us but we cannot allow it to dominate us to the point of disobeying God; only the Holy Spirit is to dominate us)