Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Nothing to Fear - Including Fear Itself!

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Nothing to Fear - Including Fear Itself!

Article excerpt

Bright yellow and gold leaves have appeared on the trees, days and nights have gotten noticeably cooler, and all sorts of Halloween decorations have popped up in my neighborhood. This time of year, at least in the United States, brings out a fascination with pretend frights and fears. From costumed trick-or-treaters, to carved jack- o-lanterns grinning from porch steps, it's all in good fun.

But what about fear that isn't about Halloween? The kind that isn't so fun?

I was recently reminded of a famous quote in Franklin D. Roosevelt's first inaugural address. "...let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Of course, Roosevelt was commenting on the issues of his day, but his thoughts on fear still apply today: More threatening than things such as frightening financial fears, harrowing health scares, or other startling situations, is the fear that paralyzes rational thinking, stops us in our tracks, or even causes us to go backward.

We probably have all had moments where an alarming situation wanted to rule the day. But no matter what form fear takes - whether it's outright panic or just a bit of worry - fear can be overcome through a deeper understanding of God as Love. That may sound like a radical statement, but there is biblical authority for this fact.

In John's first epistle we read, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment" (I John 4:18). Perfect love is God - divine Love itself.

The teachings of Christian Science take John's epistle to heart and prove, in the words of Christian Science Discoverer Mary Baker Eddy, that "the depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill all space" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 520).

Since divine Love's nature is completely good, all powerful, and fills all space, it follows that the reason Love casts out fear is that it precludes the very existence of anything to fear. Where infinite Love is, there is no room for what Love isn't. …

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