Thoughts on Fear and Bravery

Have you ever stopped to consider the many different kinds of fear and bravery? I think there are as many definitions of bravery as there are people in the world. Most people are afraid of something, and therefore consider that the people who do those things must be very brave. Personally, I think that the bravest people are the ordinary, everyday folks who are afraid of a thing, yet face it and overcome it and go on. I think that the bravest people are those who do what needs to be done without fuss or complaint or praise.

I have never considered myself a particularly brave person. I know how many varieties of fear plague me, and I know how many times I allow those fears to hold me back. There are many times when I despise myself as a miserable coward. Therefore, it comes as a big surprise when people comment on how brave I am. 'You ride horses? That's so brave!' 'You went to Africa and ate street food? That's so brave!' 'You've gone rappelling? That's so brave!' And I look at these people, and blink in astonishment, because it has never occurred to me that any of these things require bravery.

Of course, I could turn around to just about anyone I know and tell them how brave I think they are. I could say 'You can be at ease while talking to strangers? That's so brave!' 'You can drive up to a stoplight without panicking? That's so brave!' 'You can honestly say that you don't care about someone else's judgment of you? That's so brave!' And, no doubt, these people would blink in astonishment, because it has never occurred to them that any of these things require bravery.

Of course, there's still another kind of bravery. The 'perfect love casts out fear' kind. The kind that has been shaking the world for centuries. The kind of bravery displayed every day by thousands of Christians who are dying, witnessing, and travelling to the remotest corners of the globe on a mission from their Savior.

I've thought a lot about the reason why Christians are so hated and persecuted. Besides the obvious reason that Satan hates us, I think it's because our faith makes us so brave. Our bravery terrifies and threatens those who do not understand how we can stand up in the face of persecution and say 'we must obey God rather than men.'

So, those are my thoughts on bravery and fear. I'd love to hear yours.