A recent survey showed that the most prominent reaction of Americans to the COVID-19 pandemic was fear. This is a puzzling reaction from a nation that prints “In God we trust” on its currency. The mainstream media provides the public with a steady diet of doom and gloom, with dire predictions that jump all over the board from day to day. The negative language that consumes social media is pervasive, abrasive, and if nothing else, consistent. Is there a relationship between the negativity that we consume through our media and the fear that manifests itself in our homes?
One of the greatest national leaders in all of history was Moses. Moses knew that an army could never be effective if it was overcome by fear. Fear is contagious, and more destructive than any virus. Fear causes defeat before any battle is ever fought. Fearful people communicate a powerful message, but it is a message of anti-power. It becomes power on the negative side of the spectrum of powerlessness. As he was helping his nation to establish an army that was ready to do battle against an impending enemy, here’s the instruction that he gave:
“The officers shall speak further to the people, and say, ‘What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart’ (Deuteronomy 20:8).
Most armies are looking for recruits and seldom turn away healthy candidates. But Moses recognized that someone with fear was more of a liability than an asset. Fearful people tend to be vocal people. They are very adept at communicating their negative feelings through words, body language, deeds, attitudes, and the general presentation of their whole being. They are persistently the most evangelical of purveyors of their anti-powerful messages. It is difficult to interact with them without being bombarded by their negativity. Unfortunately, this negativity is contagious and infects others who listen and watch. The infection happens when the ears of others begin to give careful consideration to this message of death. Soon, fear has spread like a wildfire and the army is rendered ineffective and defeated.
Americans have a strong history of defeating great enemies powered by a reliance upon Almighty God. This isn’t the first time that we have faced a great trial. It isn’t even the first time we have faced a pandemic. Sadly we are uninformed about our history of facing danger, defeating danger, and coming through our trials stronger and more powerful than when the trial began. Our heritage is a legacy of great courageousness. But our ears are attacked with messages of defeat. If we allow ourselves to be controlled by fear, we will certainly be defeated. But it will be the fear itself that causes us to lose and not the actual enemy that we face.
Greater Eastside Chamber of Commerce