Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety. Proverbs 29: 25
Do you fear people? I think many of us do to one degree or another. One way to tell is to ask yourself, “If I was having problems with my boss, would I feel comfortable going to her and airing my grievances?” Or how about this one: your neighbour’s cat continually comes onto your property and does their business on your lawn. Would you be comfortable in going over and talking to them about the issue? I’m not saying that either of these situations would be easy, but would you be willing to do it if it’s the right thing to do? You see, it’s these type of situations where fear can easily slip in and paralyze us.
It’s much like jumping off cliffs into a lake with your buddies or kids. If you stand at the edge and ‘think’ about it, it actually becomes easier to not do it, than to jump. And in the end, you walk away. It’s the same when you need to confront someone, if you overthink it, it becomes easier not to talk to them and just walk away.
Solomon says that fearing people (regardless of the reason) is a dangerous trap. I love that the word ‘trap’ is used. One of the definitions given for ‘trap’ states: “…a literal or figurative contrivance for deceiving or catching an animal or person.” Have you ever considered a trap as a tool used to deceive? Isn’t that a lot like fear? Fear makes you believe that it’s better to back away, to stop dead in your tracks, to doubt yourself.
When it comes to people, fear puffs the person up in your head making them look larger and more menacing than they really are…and so we back away. It’s when we back away that fear bites. Once we back away, we diminish and dishonour ourselves, and end up not giving the other person the opportunity to grow and mature.
Sure, by retreating I have avoided the difficult situation, but at what cost to myself? And that’s where the danger lies. In backing away, I am training my brain to respond to difficult conversations by avoiding them all together. It’s that practice that is detrimental to my spiritual, mental and emotional growth.
Solomon says that there’s a way better way to deal with all of this. Rather than putting my energy into fearing people, it is much safer and healthier if I simply trust God. Trust means seeing myself as God sees me, and seeing you as God sees you. When I look at myself, and when I look at you, I see the image of God. It’s in that place where love overtakes all fear. It’s in that place where honesty and honour rule. God can be trusted because God is safe.