Don’t Be Afraid Just Because They Say So

fear
Photo credit: ShandiLee

2 Peter 1:12-21

My intention is to keep reminding you of all this, even though you already know it and are convinced of its truth. So long as I’m alive, it’s the right thing for me to keep it fresh in your minds. And, since Jesus has told me that I won’t be around much longer, I’m doing my best to make sure you’ll keep remembering it after I’m gone.

When we told you about Jesus’ return to power we weren’t just perpetuate clever myths. We’d seen his majesty with our own eyes. He received honor and glory from God when the voice came to him from great glory saying, “This is my son, and I’m proud of him.” We heard the voice ourselves on the sacred mountain. Our word is truly reliable, and you’d best pay attention to it. It’s your light in a dark place, until daylight dawns and your hearts discern the morning star.

So first, get this: no truth of scripture is open to individual interpretation because no truth ever came from human effort. Rather, men and women spoke what God’s spirit moved them to speak.

From God’s lips to our ears. Simple as Ross Perot. Either you believe it or you don’t. Black or white, darkness or light. And there’s no room for any shades of gray. And certainly no minority report.

Except that the whole Bible is full of minority reports. Really, the whole Bible is a minority report.

But the best evidence that this particular passage is not what it claims to be is that it’s whole premise is fear. Do as we say, or you’ll be sorry. And it’s appeal to guilt. I’m going to die soon, so listen to a pathetic old man. Either Peter toward the end of his life still didn’t get the “fear not, you are forgiven” message Jesus was talking about, or (which is the most likely case) it’s not Peter writing. But it is among the origins of Christian fundamentalism.

Today insecure guilt-ridden people with no tolerance for dissent still co-opt the memory of Jesus to build their own empires. Sad, that they dupe so many people. But, always just as recognizable. Just look for fear and guilt.

I wish I could find something positive to say about it. I can’t. But I do have some advice. If you’re living in a community that holds Jesus and God over you to make you afraid and prohibits your consideration of any opinion other than it’s own, you don’t have to live that way. It’s not Jesus. It’s abuse.