Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is there a good fear?

In regards to a comment by "goforth"

That's a good question. According to Proverbs 9:10, there must be a good type of fear, but perhaps it is our word or definition of it that is limiting us. There is little good in our common cultural definitions for the word fear ... I think. We're afraid of many things: spiders, getting sick, death, public speaking, breaking a hip, losing a loved one, being in a bad place at a bad time. Though I've heard people say that there is a 'good type of fear'. Or I've heard the term to 'instill some fear' in them. Like when a child is hurt (not badly) but then learns that what they did had potentially painful consequences, we feel that to 'instill' this type of 'fear' is a good thing. Though I think we also call this a respect. Then you begin to respect that which caused you pain or could cause you pain. I respect the hot element and choose to create limits and boundaries on how I interact with a hot stove by not putting my body too close to it. I understand that it will do me damage and I value my body too much to do so. At some point I had to learn this and make a decision to do so. This is healthy and I think we do it all the time. And I think we also do this in relationships as well. We begin to choose to act and interact with people or different types or kinds of people in ways we think that are appropriate or loving ... or not. And one is a healthy respect and the other is not a healthy respect or fear, if you want to call it that. In a sense, I guess it could be much like coming to know yourself in relation to someone. So, culturally, I might decide that it is good for me to respect someone who is older than me because of the potential wisdom they might have or share with me and because, despite their age, they have a lot to offer to me potentially. And as I get to know this older person, I might find that what I thought might be true IS true and that I do learn from them and my respect grows all the more ... my understanding of my relation to them grows truer, as it were. I think this is something akin to the 'fear of the Lord'. That as we begin to understand our relation to Him and His to us, that is, His true character and our true character, our respect (or fear) grows more 'true'. More to what it should be. I would call someone a fool who disregarded the relationship of someone who could have given great benefit to them. But to grow in understanding of God is to grow in understanding in how to relate and befriend Him and to have that true 'fear' or respect or clear picture of the relational connection with Him. God is not one to be trifled with for sure. I'm kind of working this out as I write, not sure if it is making sense. Anyone agree?