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Need some perspective on overcoming fear

Hi guys. I know the community hasn't been super-active for awhile, but I'm hoping that maybe this post happens across some of your friends pages and I coud get some perspective.

I'm Courtney, I'm 30, and I've been around the comm for awhile, but I think this is my first time posting.

What I struggle with is fear, particularly fear of hell. I'm sure all Christians at some point or another have dealt with this, but mine is overly large, ongoing, and debilitating.

I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church, and while God's mercy and love were talked about, they weren't really emphasized. It was fire and brimstone, judgement, sin, etc. As a teen and even into college, I was pretty much the sterotypical super straight-laced good little Christian girl, and as result didn't experience much in terms of actual life.

As I got older, I realized that the things I was doing, my behavior, wasn't motivated by love for God or committment to Him, but rather out of fear and shame. I knew this had to change. But how does one begin to love a God who seems terrifying and harsh cruel? The very idea of the Gospel as I understand it seems cruel: Choose Jesus or burn.

Has anyone else dealt with these kinds of feelings? How does one begin to get a balanced view of God? If you've felt this kind of fear, how did you work through it?

I know this is a sensitive and harsh subject, so I appreciate any thoughts or advice you could offer.



Apr. 21st, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
Read Hosea 6:6, Micah 6:8, 2 Chronicles 30:18-20, Exodus 32:7-14, and all four chapters of Jonah (and, well, the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures, when you have time). Look at who God is, and what God wants.

Next, get a copy of the Desert Fathers, and see how they represent both God and sin.

Finally, think about God, and ask yourself what a good God would do, and how such a God would deal with people born in, for example, the Americas in AD 400: with such people having no chance of hearing the Gospel, either God is an evil monster and they were all created in an enormous act of mockery as fuel predestined for the fires of Hell, or else God is not evil, and provides some other option for them.
Apr. 21st, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
It might also be worth considering that the Greek terms for 'sin', both as a noun and as a verb, refer not to 'committing unspeakable crimes' but to 'screwing up'. An original usage was for missing the target at which you threw your spear (but most definitely not the target at which you fired an arrow, because only cowards used bows).
Apr. 21st, 2012 08:55 pm (UTC)
Surely you're not calling Legolas a coward!!!


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