THE FEAR OF MAN
By George Card
Proverbs 29:25 "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe".
We humans sometimes fear other men because of their position of power, or because they are rich and many times those two things are combined. Ever noticed that it is usually the rich who go into politics? They have money, and to a certain extent that is power, but political power is more real, so they go after it. If you are poor your chances of succeeding in politics are slim to none.
I shall confess that one of my biggest faults when I was a younger Christian was the fear of man. I feared those who were in a higher position than me, and kept quiet when I should have shouted. I shrank and shriveled in the presence of the powerful. I was just a poor nobody, what could I really say to those in power.
I feared antagonizing those in power, especially at work. So I became that most despicable of all creatures, the "Yes man". Yes I accepted whatever my job supervisors told me and I followed their orders without questioning. I was a man pleaser for I feared their displeasure. There were days when I should have stood up like a man and said "NO", or at least “Perhaps we should think this over”, but I cowered and meekly followed orders that I knew were not the best ones.
I feared the religious authorities too; I now deeply regret my cowardice before religious people, especially the Trinitarian folks. There were times when I should have spoken and told them they were wrong, but I feared their awesome titles and presence (Reverend so and so). I barely knew the Bible, what could I really teach those seminary graduated bible scholars? It was this fear attitude that caused a rift between me and God that was not healed for many years. I know my fear of man, caused me to displeased my God in order to please a man in religious authority. This is a bitter and bad memory for me, yet I have to acknowledge my sin and repent.
It took me many years to get over this fear of authority figures. I now realize that the rich and the poor are all equal and die equally. The president of the company and the line worker put their pants in the same manner. The king and the pauper will both be food for worms. The preacher and the saint will have a level ground in judgement day.
The proudness of the powerful will not stop death or the judgement of God. Their presence might intimidate people upon this earth because of their earthy power, but God will not flinch. For God is no respecter of persons, but all are equal before him.
The prophets of God stood before kings and reprove the kings for their sins,
Samuel reproached King Saul, and later Nathan rebuked King David. Elijah stood before King Ahab. Then Micaiah stood before the same king Ahab. The prophets of God feared not the power of the mighty kings, which without the pretense of a trial could have easily commanded the prophets to be slain.
Before I would recoil and tremble when speaking to those who had money and power, I now can sit in front of them and not shake nor tremble. It took me many years and many failures to finally come to this point in my life.
No I am not a rebel out to destroy the institutions, I do respect people who are in a position of power, but now I realize that they only have power because of their position, without it they are just like you and me. Now I can voice my disagreements and said no if it is needed. No I have not gone from being a “Yes” man to being a “No” man, but I now voice my opinion if I think we should think some more before making a decision.
I have learned to stand up and be assertive in the presence of those who wield power; I no longer shake, rattle and roll before a company executive. I know he has the power to fire me if I antagonize him, so I try not to antagonize him, but he better not expect me to be a "Yes man" for I no longer play that role and if I do get fired, I will just go and find another employment, they are hard to find but not impossible.
I deeply respect the ministers of the gospel, but the "Prophet" or "Apostle" better not think that I will accept any doctrine, just because he pronounces it so. He better be prepared to show me from scriptures clearly and convincingly that his doctrine is in the Bible, no longer do I assent to what anyone pronounces with “authority”, which usually means shouting with an intimidating tone.
I no longer fear the condemnations, anathemas or thundering denunciations of religious authorities who attack me because of my doctrines. It wasn’t always this way, but I had to learn the hard way, to fear the Lord more than to fear any man.