Fear or Faith
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear."
- 1 Peter 4:8
I have a friend named Khalid. This weekend, he's participating in the Human Library Project at the Frankfort Public Library. This is an opportunity when people can check out a "human book." Book subjects include: "A Jew," "A Muslim," "A Latina," "A Hard of Hearing Person," etc. Khalid participated in this event last year as "A Muslim." He explained why being part of this learning experience was so important.
"Last year, I had a woman who finally got the courage to come to my table, shaking, and she was terrified of Muslims because she was sure I was a nasty person, required to kill infidels. But after fifteen minutes of talking to hear and addressing her fears, when she was leaving, she said she was feeling so terrible that she had felt that way before and then proceeded to invite me to her home for dinner. That experience shook me up - that a small program in a small town could change the heart and mind of one person. It's all about communication and dialogue!"
In the face of fear and ignorance, Khalid is doing his part to make a difference in our world. This past Tuesday, I went to an InterFaith healing service at Shir Tikvah, the Jewish synagogue in Homewood. I entered the synagogue with a heavy heart - grieving and wondering what could be done about the ignorance and violence plaguing our society today. I left the service wanting say something, share something, do something that might make a difference - even a small one. Whenever and whenever I can, I'll try to offer hope, encouragement, and kindness to friends and enemies alike. I'll speak up when others are being put down. I'll go out of my way to serve and care for neighbors (regardless of their race, religion, political affiliation.) I'll do my part to reflect God's love - whenever, wherever, however I can - because God's love is the answer to fear. The Bible reminds us that perfect love casts out fear. Love (which we see most perfectly in Jesus Christ) is God's answer to the hatred/ ignorance/ bigotry of our sin-sick world. Friends, I don't know the answer to stopping all the hate and violence. I don't know how we can prevent the next mass shooting in a school, shopping center, or synagogue. However, I know we can all do our part. We can all do something to shine light in the midst of darkness - to offer hope in the midst of pain - to offer love, which casts out fear. I promise to do my part. I hope you will, too.
- Pastor Caleb