When Security Masks a Spirit of Fear

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in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.

What can man do to me? – Psalm 56:11 (ESV)

Another week goes by, we hear another story of a gunman invading a space and taking innocent lives. Calls for gun control quickly ring out in the media. Feelings of justice, fueled by anger and pain, trigger that deep down knowing that the world should not be this way. That we were not meant to deal with nor experience death, separation, brought on by a single choice made back in the beginning.

The Psalmist tells us in Psalm 56:11 that we should put our trust in God. There is no reason to fear when we put our trust in the Creator. Right? And yet fear percolates and permeates the atmosphere we breathe. Even in our churches, where Safety Teams equal Security Squads, fear rages. Played out with armed church members, unofficially, watching over the flock while services take place. A new defensive cultural norm.

NOTE: Please, do not misconstrue my words here, I’m all for keeping the Church safe. But I’m not okay when the spirit of fear drives a weekly version of security theater.

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

Keeping silent. Toeing the party line. Those seem like the obvious responses. But I believe God calls us, as Christians, to more: Power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

What do you do when a spirit of fear infects a church?

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Abuse of Power

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For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7

I think that Christians often follow parts of the above verse found in 2 Timothy. We read it as a green light to go forth and speak our minds with power–we will squash you fools!–. Our failure is that we do not live out the second part of the verse, the part that talks about acting with love and self-discipline. Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, God gives us power that is only balanced with love and self-discipline. This means that we can be bold in talking about our faith with others as long as it is done through the lens of love and keeping ourselves in check, by the Spirit.