Good Fears Versus Bad Fears

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By Fr. Abu


“Why are you afraid, O men of little faith? Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:26).

There are things that should make us afraid, and there are things that we shouldn’t be afraid of. Our readings this morning help to make this distinction. When we are afraid of the things we ought to be afraid of, we have good fears, but by the time we are afraid of things that does not deserve our fears, then we have bad fears.

In our Gospel passage, Jesus rebuked the disciples for their bad fears. They were travelling in a boat and behold there was a great storm which swamped the boat against the waves. Ordinarily, one might assume their fear of death by drowning was legitimate, but Jesus said such a fear was very bad.

By rebuking them, Jesus was saying: “You shouldn’t be afraid of things like this, because it has a cure – Faith!!!” Do not be pessimistic in life. Believe in God, let your faith be so big that you only expect positive outcomes of whatever situation you are facing. Cast away your bad fears and have a relaxed mind like Jesus who was sleeping in the boat.

Then our first reading describes the good fear. What is a good fear? It is the fear of disobedience or better put, the fear of God. Even the bible says: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). The people of Sodom and Gomorrah had no fear of God, they committed so much atrocities that God decided to wipe them out from existence.

Recall how Lot became so rich that he and Abraham had to part ways? Lot looked at the region of Sodom and Gomorrah and saw how beautiful it was. Lot went to Sodom as an extremely wealthy man, but today he departed from this town empty, not even a single cow or sheep followed him.

This is what becomes of us when we allow sin fester in our lives and in our community. This is why we should be scared of falling even into the slightest sin. Lot’s wife looked back. She was not afraid of disobeying the instruction that the Angels gave. She lacked good fear and for this she became a pillar of salt.