Devotion 12

Fear of the ‘Other’

“Always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that sums up the teaching of the Torah and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

There are two foundational commands given by our Messiah, Adonai Yeshua.  The first, You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your understanding, (Luke 10:27) refers to the first five (5) commands, outlined in the ten Commandments; the second, You are to love your neighbour as yourself, the last five (5).

Over the past few months, there has been a steady erosion in respect shown to ‘others’, those of different religions and cultures, both in social media and on many internet ‘news’ sources.  Should we be worried about this decline in respect for our neighbours?  Is there not a fear that they are creating a culture of fear, for their own personal ends?  What is a culture of fear?  This is the concept of people of power inciting doubt and fear in the general public to achieve political goals, through emotional bias.  We are certainly witnessing this occurring today.

Clearly such decline in respect is also a sign of decline in righteousness; we know the majority of the world today lives in unrighteousness, that is obvious.  But why would Believers, those professing love for Yahweh, God, display disrespect and unrighteousness?

Perhaps the greatest motivator for this behaviour is fear.  Fear, as any psychologist will tell us, is the greatest motivator for human behaviour, even greater than love – fear of others who are different from us; fear that ‘others’ wish to change our way of life; fear that ‘others’ want us to follow a different standard of behaviour.  Understandably, Yahweh, and Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, have a good deal to say about fear, as do their disciples.  For example, in Isaiah 41:10, we read, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you; don’t be distressed, for I am your God.  I give you strength, I give you help, I support you with my victorious right hand.”  In Matthew 10:27-31 Adonai Yeshua shares with us, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are powerless to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who can destroy both soul and body in Gei-Hinnom. 29 Aren’t sparrows sold for next to nothing, two for an assarion? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s consent. 30 As for you, every hair on your head has been counted. 31 So do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows”.  And, in Philippians 4:6,7, Rav Sha’ul, the Apostle Paul reminds us, “Don’t worry about anything; on the contrary, make your requests known to God by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. Then God’s shalom, passing all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with the Messiah Yeshua.”

Beloved, whenever we worry about issues, events beyond our control, we give power to the enemy; we weaken our own position in the Kingdom and we abandon the love, which has been promised to uphold and secure us.  I urge you to ignore the fear mongering occurring within the world today and focus instead upon our redeemer and His faithful promises of love, security and hope.

May Yahweh bless you richly.