Fearing people is a dangerous trap
Proverbs 29:25 Why it’s not good to fear what others think about you…
“Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.”
Proverbs 29:25 NLT
Do you fear people? I’m not talking about the type of fear you might feel when you’re walking down a darkened street and see some people in the shadows walking your way. That’s a good kind of fear of people to have, since it can save you from being mugged, beaten, or even killed.
There’s another kind of fear that many fall prey to: the fear of what other people think. This fear consumes people who should instead be concerned with what God and wisdom say, and what living a life of integrity would lead them to do. That trap ensnares many of us.
As an example, let’s say that you work for a boss who acts unethically, cheats customers and the company, mistreats employees, and flaunts safety regulations. Taking this proverb to heart means you would confront the boss about her actions without worrying about being fired.
You should do what is right — confront her about the issues, report the malfeasance to her superiors, HR department, regulatory agencies — and leave the rest up to your trust in God. Perhaps you will be fired, but you’re doing what is right and just in God’s eyes. Trusting in God ensures that in the long run, not being afraid of what the boss thinks results in a much better outcome. Perhaps the boss doesn’t fire you and takes your advice to heart, in which case everyone is the better. Fearing reprisals from her and not taking action ends up in an unsafe (and unethical) situation for everyone.
For another example, think about being a teenager. Your friends want to “TP” (see example above, courtesy of the Palestine, IL high school website) a crabby neighbor’s house, but you don’t think it’s a good idea. Not fearing what your friends may think, you would refuse to take part and hopefully talk them out of doing it. Sure, you might be considered a real stick-in-the-mud and your friends will be unmerciful about calling you a coward…
By avoiding the trap of “going with the crowd”, you trusted in God to keep you safe in His arms. Your friends, on the other hand, were caught on the neighbor’s Ring doorbell and spent the next two days fishing toilet paper out of trees…
Another example? Think about Pontius Pilate. Here’s a man who hadn’t felt that Jesus was guilty of anything, but his fear of what the crowd thought led Pilate to condemn Jesus to the cross…
Finally, I found this example from the great Charles H. Spurgeon regarding how many Christians feel about evangelizing the unsaved: “Why, I have known some who were afraid even to give away a tract; they were as much alarmed as though they had to put their hand into a tiger’s mouth.” (Spurgeon, Charles Haddon "The New Park Street Pulpit" Volumes 1-6 and "The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit" Volumes 7-63 (Pasadena, Texas: Pilgrim Publications, 1990)) Not fearing what others think could very well help you show them the way to eternal life.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Heavenly Father, please keep Your eyes on what I do and think each and every day. Help me to be unafraid of what others think, but to always do what I know You would find pleasing. In Jesus’ Name I Pray, AMEN.