We hear a lot about the role of fear amid current cultural, political, and religious wars. Pundits theorize that we tend to vote our fears, hoping someone will defend us against all threats and make us safe and secure.
“Fear of the other” dominates–those of different race, ethnicity, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, political ideology, religion, nationality. . . .!
I have an uneasy feeling that the person I fear the most is not “the other!”
The person I fear the most is myself!
Maybe what I am most afraid of in the other is projection of my own woundedness, my own inadequacies, my own insecurities, my own prejudices, my own sinfulness.
Stanley Hauerwas put it pointedly:
“The fear that dominates our lives is not in the first instance the fear of an enemy, unless it is acknowledged that each of us is the enemy, but rather the fear that is the source of violence is the fear that makes us unwilling to acknowledge the wounded character of our lives.”
Overcoming my fear of the other requires that I honestly, humbly, and courageously confront my own woundedness. Projecting fear onto others only compounds its destructiveness.
God, grant me the courage to face the fear of myself in the light of Your Grace; and may Your Love heal my wounds and cast out my fear! Amen.