This chapter starts the section “God Speaks: on people and their judgments”.
“Money is one fear that Scripture highlights. People are another. Like our concerns about money, the fear of other people is some that it can be assumed; it sits in the background of all of our lives” (174).
Fear of Man in Scripture
In Numbers, there is a story about God’s people being afraid of other people: Numbers 13-14. They would not enter the promised land because of giants in that land. “The problem,” however, “was not that they had overestimated their foe…. The problem was that they underestimated the Lord” (176).
The people of the Old Testament had the choice couched in two primary ways:
Idols or God.
People or God.
“Why are we afraid [of people]? Because [they] have something we want and we are not sure we can get it” (177). Such as: Reputation. Acceptance. Prestige. Love.
Fear of Man in Ourselves
“Every Christian, at some time, has been ashamed of the gospel. There are many reasons for this, but the primary reason is that we are cut from the same cloth as Peter. We worry about the opinion of others. At the first sign of rejection we opt for whatever we think will win us the approval, prestige, or love we desire” (178).
I am guilty of this. Recently I was confronted with the fact that I have been a pansy in our community, and have not always led well or courageously. I have been ashamed. Welch’s quote here hits me when he says “we opt for whatever we think will win us _____ “. I often construct people’s opinions and desires in my own mind, and then play my cards according to those ideas. That is — I fold to the pressure of what I think people want.
That’s sinful. I must be accountable to God alone for what I do, how I lead, or ______ (i.e. anything I am called to do by him).
A Personal Response
“Why am I so concerned about me?” (180). Because I love myself more than anyone else most of the time. I use people more than I care about and love them. I am always looking for an edge, for what I can get out of someone, how they can benefit me. I am afraid of them, then, because they have what I want. The only solution: I am consoled and helped only because God’s Spirit moves in me.