He (God) has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6
Most of us are afraid of something.
While I won't guess what scares you, I do know what frightens Rogelio Andaverde, a resident of Hidalgo County, Texas. I know because Mr. Andaverde's fears made the news a few weeks ago.
On a Tuesday, some masked men entered Andaverde's house with drawn guns. Without saying why they had come, they took him and left his wife wondering what terrible things might happen to her husband. Quickly, she called the police who arrived and began a search.
The investigation was fruitless.
Amazingly, two days after he had been taken, Andaverde was back home. He told his wife that, for some unknown reason, his kidnappers had released him. The reunion between the two was a happy one. Indeed, their joy was only marred when the police showed up at their door and accused Mr. Andaverde of having faked his own kidnapping.
"Why would anybody do such a thing?" you ask.
Well, Mr. Andaverde was afraid.
He wanted to party with his friends, and he was afraid of his wife. For that reason he enlisted some of his pals to enter his house with masks, guns and a demand that he go with them. Mr. Andaverde was arrested and charged with having filed a false report. His bond was set at $5,000.
Looking back at the jail time, the fine, the embarrassment, and his now-really-upset wife, Mr. Andaverde might rightly conclude he had been afraid of the wrong thing.
Mr. Andaverde is hardly alone.
Over the years I have seen families who were afraid people might think poorly of them if they prayed in a restaurant. I have talked to kids in college who were afraid of receiving a bad grade if they confessed their faith. I have seen many of us afraid of taking a stand for the Savior because we wished to escape the criticism and condemnation of others.
In these instances, and many others like them, we have been afraid of the wrong thing.
Rather than being afraid of the opinions and judgments of others, we ought to be concerned about compromising our faith in the Savior to win the approval of people. Knowing that, the Psalmist said, "The fear (or respect) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (see Psalm 111:10). In Proverbs we read, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight" (Proverbs 9:10).
The words of those Old Testament writers were supported by the Savior who told us, "So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny before My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33).
Loving, honoring and respecting God: that's what we need to do as we obey God rather than men.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help us love You with our whole heart and mind. In this way we respect You and give a right witness to our Savior who died so we might live. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries