Fear of ruin. Fear of death.

I attended the Trinity Institute “The Anatomy of Reconciliation” conference this past Monday – Wednesday. James Alison and Miroslav Volf were incredible – as was St. Helen Prejean, the practical one, who wrote “Dead Man Walking.”
Some of the things I’ve been thinking over for the past couple of years or so were brought back into stark relief as a result of the stuff presented.
I think that so much of the conflict we see, both individually and corporately, comes from a place of fear – fear of ruin and fear of death.
We fear that our reputation, our nation, our way of life, all of our possessions will be ruined if….
We fear death.
As a result, we work to protect all our stuff and ourselves, which is normal as things go. Yet, for Christians we are not to be bound by concern and worry about all this because…
– Where is our security? In the systems of ‘this world,’ or in Christ? I just read this morning in Matthew 6,7 to be worried about what we will eat, what we will wear. We are not to be consumed with worry and concern about these things – where is our treasure? Are we free of materialism and consumerism and ???, or do they have us bound?
– Where is our end? If I believe what I profess to believe, I have to say with Paul that to be absent from the body is to be present with Christ. Why do I fear death? It makes sense to be concerned with the means of death. Do I believe that life ends at the expiration of the physical body? Do I believe in the beyond – beyond our concepts of space and time? Do I believe that I will be with Christ upon death? Why then should I fear death? If we can get past that fear of death, think of what is opened to us. Think…
Truly, the freedom Christ won for us is freedom from the constraints of this world and freedom from death! If my treasure – those things I value most – are not bound to temporality, why do I feel compelled to hoard or protect against the interests of the other? If my end is with Christ, why do I feel compelled to do violence to defend myself or my way of life?
We all have our preferences, but my hope is that I can be content in all things – whether rich or poor, with little or a lot. My hope is that I am freed from the need or compulsion to see this world as a competition between us against them, me against you, so that I will be freed from the fear of ruin or death!
Post-script: Jon commented about our fear of not being loved. I think that is a very important consideration to be added! Thanks, Jon.