Fear is the opposite of love. It motivates you to do all sorts of negative things that are not loving to yourself or others. The greater the fear of harm to yourself, the more you will lash out at anyone who happens to be near you. Think of an animal – when in fear, the instinctive response is to bite or attack. I have a beautiful old cat named Mama Kitty. She is very docile in her natural, relaxed state. But she has a fear problem – she’s a little bit neurotic because when she was young, a little boy had a tendency to tease her a bit, and she accidentally got her tail caught in a closing door a long, long time ago.
Because she is extra protective of her old wound, she is nervous about people coming up behind her and catching her off guard, and she does not like the other family animals at all. You always know when Mama Kitty is afraid, because she will meow loudly and hiss, or even attack the dog or our other cat if they get too close. She will always be like this, she will never change. But we love her anyway, and we are always careful to be gentle with her or let her know when we’re approaching, whenever we can. Mama Kitty has found it easier on her nerves to live in our large backyard where there are many nooks and crannies in which she can nap.
Do you know any people like this? Maybe you are a victim of your own fear. I know that I have done some unusual things out of fear. Once, when I was going through a really rough patch in my life, I had begun to isolate myself from others. I stayed home most of the time, never answered the phone and never called anyone. I was out in the garage working one day; I was wearing ratty old work clothes, no makeup, and my hair was a rat’s nest to match. A few of Darin’s friends showed up unannounced. Bless their hearts, they didn’t mean anything by it, they were in the area and just wanted to say hello to Darin. When they pulled up in the driveway on their motorcycles and hopped off, I leapt out of my chair and screamed, “Don’t look at me!” and ran into the house, never showing my face again until after they left.
That was not one of my better moments.
There are all kinds of fear in us. Observe your own bad behaviors and see how you can trace them back to a fear. My fear was to be seen a certain way. I blamed it on my clothing and my bad grooming, but I was actually fearful of someone seeing inside my heart. I was fearful of being hurt and rejected. I was afraid that I would not be accepted. My fears are exacerbated by my wounds. Like a wounded animal, I lash out to protect myself from being hurt further.
Trace your anger directly back to your wound. If you don’t know what your wound is, you can follow your anger back like a trail of crumbs to the source.
But we are forgiven, forgiven of all our of weaknesses. And unlike Mama Kitty, I am able to overcome my knee-jerk reactions to fear. In fact, fear itself can be eliminated from my heart with God’s help. If we stay stuck in our fears and old wounds, we are no better than animals. Become fully human by growing and healing.