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Jordan: Living in love, not aversion of fear
Kasey Jordan - column
Kasey Jordan

I keep hearing a line and it goes something like this: “I am not going to live in fear, so I’m not going to…”

In theory, I agree, that living in fear is no way to live. The Bible tells us that tomorrow is not guaranteed, as the Proverbs say, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what any day may bring forth” (27:1). The most repeated advice in the Bible is also, “Do not be afraid,” or “Have no fear.” God so wanted us to know that we should not fear, that He told us this advice hundreds of times in the Bible!

We can exercise and eat all the right food and drive safely, and in the end we are often surprised by our humanity. By our frailty. By our lack of control. I am often brought to tears hearing of the losses that people experience. There is a helplessness when staring into the eyes of people who have experienced a loss that rocks their world and all you can do is tell them how much you care but how you can’t change what happened.

We can try all we want to protect ourselves from loss and pain, but in the end, we have been given freewill and sometimes that means we suffer. So yeah, maybe that means we should throw caution to the wind and just live without taking precautions. That approach would go perfectly if we lived on an island, and our lives didn’t impact the lives of others, but as stated above, that is not the truth.

My choices impact other people. Realizing that, and making decisions that consider other people, is not living in fear, it is called consideration. These are not my own thoughts, they come from someone who came long before me, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). 

It feels like lately, there has been a push that says that I have the freedom to live the life that I want to live, without regarding other people. To argue about certain rights that the Constitution allows me while ignoring the fact that people around me don’t even have the basic human rights that we take for granted, or to harm an employee at a store because I don’t like the policy that he or she is enforcing. 

To be sure, there are a lot of decisions that we are trying to make right now…to wear a mask or not, to shop in stores or by pick-up, to mandate mask wearing in our places of business or worship, to send our kids back to school virtually or in-person, to socialize in enclosed places or to keep it outside…the list goes on and on. These decisions can only be made with guidance from the Holy Spirit, but to be chosen on the basis of not fearing is not necessarily a formula that shares our faith in the best light.

I am by no means perfect, and I wish I could claim that I always think of others before myself. I have to stop myself all the time and question my motives — why am I doing the things I am doing? Do I really care about the other person or I am just trying to make my own life more comfortable or easy? 

As we think about the decisions that we are making, now, more than ever, checking our motives and our consideration of others is critically important—especially if we call ourselves Christians. It is in times of crisis and turmoil that people are looking for hope. And we have the hope and love that the world needs to face these current times. But they will only pay attention to our words if the way that we live our lives reveals that hope and joy that comes through living our lives for others. 

John had this to say about Jesus, “The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16). As His followers, His “feet and hands” on the earth, we are also called to lay down our lives, even if it is uncomfortable or hard. That is true love and in living that way, we are not living in fear, we are living in consideration of those around us, and shining the most convincing light possible towards the One who has love for all people. 

Kasey Carty Jordan is a former missionary to China and currently serves in youth ministry with her husband Kurt at their Catholic parish. She is also the Executive Director of Camp to Belong-Georgia, a non-profit that serves siblings separated in foster care. The Jordans reside in Monticello with their seven children.