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When to fear and when not to fear

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Halloween is a time when people want to be frightened, isn’t it? I’ve noticed the many scary movies on TV such as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacres.” Frankly I have no wish to watch people being chased around by some maniac with a chainsaw.

And then there are the many frightening costumes such as ghosts, werewolves and mummies. And some of those carved pumpkins can appear pretty vicious, too.

Halloween is an odd celebration, based for Christians in All Hallow’s Eve, the evening before All Saints’ Day. On that day, people remember the Christians who have passed on. People also associate it with scaring away evil spirits, which as Christians we certainly need to do. Yet, most folks connect it with evil and consider it a secular event. Hence, many churches sponsor other types of events for their children.

I don’t think we need to intentionally scare other people. But fear is a built-in emotion, meant to protect us from something that can cause us harm. The Bible tells us when to be afraid. Proverbs 9:18 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” In this case, healthy fear of God means respecting God, knowing the consequences of disobeying Him and therefore doing what He commands. If we don’t follow His commands, then we will come to harm.

On the other hand, at least 365 “do not be afraid” scriptures can be found in the Bible. Some examples are: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10); and “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Lots of scary people and critters can appear at our door on nights such as Halloween. And lots of scary people and critters can appear to us in the world in general. But we only need to fear — to respect — God.

Donna Crowe is a minister’s wife.

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