A God of love – and of fear?

Frankly Speaking… By AA Fenty

careers and companies thru’ cocaine

Look Friends, I appreciate that the captioned lead today is, perhaps not an issue for a Friday columnist. Especially when there is now a daily diet of traffic accidents, politics, fires, crime, elections, corruption- and WikiLeaks Guyana.

However, suspecting that this could be one of my time-out, shorter pieces, I choose to leave the more popular, significant issues to others and explore God, love and fear today. For two simple reasons really: Firstly, even as I find myself amongst citizen seniority, I acknowledge the presence of an Over-Soul and Creator, but cannot say that I have come to terms fully with the Christian concept of God even though I was somewhat immersed in Christian teachings, worship, rituals and beliefs. (Growing up in Church Street, Alberttown, Georgetown, I went to a Roman Catholic school, was christened at St Sidwell’s Anglican, attended St George’s a bit, as well as the Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist and an Assembly of God, among others.)

Secondly, today’s remarks were also inspired by a long conversation with my Florida-based in-law who happens to be a passionate Jehovah’s Witness. He had many responses, most Biblical, to my questions as to why Christians should fear their God instead of just loving him. Note too that I have had a little trouble with the production of the Bible itself. I seem to be more comfortable with the old Testament, wherein the prophets of God share their versions of divine wisdom, than with the new Testament, which many Christian scholars themselves now question: are the four main reporters accurate or figurative? Or both? Are certain books not omitted from the New Testament?

However, especially for the Christians’ sake and consideration, I’ll record my in-law’s responses based on his knowledge and study of The Holy Bible, which of course, he assumes to be fully “the inspired word of Jehovah/God”.

 Why fear?
Since I grew up in a Christian environment I was/am familiar with the concept of God being the Father of all. And as with a human, mortal male parent, the child must have respect, even earned love, for him. Then from childhood to young adulthood, even though my own father was always absent, I sensed the fear youngsters developed for some fathers – and for God. But why did there have to be fear, I always wondered.

I now grapple with my in-law’s teaching(s). Fear has haunted mankind for centuries. Fear of hunger, disease, crime, or war keeps millions of people in constant anxiety. For this reason the preamble to American Universal Declaration of Human Rights expresses the desire to bring about a world where all humans will enjoy “freedom from fear”. Happily, God Himself assures us that such a world will come – although not by human efforts. Through his prophet Micah, Jehovah promises us that in his new world of righteousness, ‘no one will make his people tremble’.

On the other hand, fear can also be a positive force. In the Scriptures, God’s servants are repeatedly urged to fear Jehovah. Moses told the Israelites: “Jehovah your God you should fear, and Him you should serve”. (Deuteronomy 6:13) Centuries later, Solomon wrote “Fear the true God and keep His commandments. For this is the whole obligation of man”. (Ecclesiastes 12:13) Through our witnessing work, carried out under angelic supervision, we likewise urge all people to “fear God and give him glory”. (Revelation 14:6, 7) In addition to fearing God, Christians must love Him with their whole heart. (Matthew 22:37, 38) How can we love God and at the same time fear him? Why is it necessary to fear a loving God? What benefits do we derive from cultivating godly fear? To answer these questions, we must first understand what fear of God means and how this type of fear forms of fundamental part of our relationship with God.

Fear of God, we are told is a feeling Christians should have toward their Maker. One definition of this fear is “an awe and profound reverence for the Creator and a wholesome dread of displeasing him”. Thus fear of God influences two important aspects of our lives: our attitude toward God and our attitude toward conduct that He hates. I’m trying to accept much of the foregoing. I suppose it has to do with choice of words, along with the profundity of their message.

So this fear breeds love?
There seems to be tons of Christian scripture explaining how this type of fear pleases their God. I, however, conclude my quest with the following:
“From a scriptural standpoint, fearing God does not in any way rule out loving him. On the contrary, the Israelites were instructed to “fear” Jehovah…so as to walk in all His ways and to love Him. Thus, fear of God and love of God are closely connected. Fear of God moves us to walk in His ways, and this in turn gives proof of our love for Him. This is logical because when we love someone, we rightly fear to hurt him or her.

Hopefully now you can see that fear of God is a wholesome attitude that all of us should cultivate, since it is a fundamental part of our worship of Him. It leaves us to trust in Him implicitly; to walk in his ways, and to cling to Him. As was true of Jesus Christ the fear of God can also move us to fulfil our dedication vow now and for all eternity.

Godly fear is never morbid or duly restrictive. Happy is everyone fearing Him who is walking in His ways, the Bible assures us. (Psalm 128:1) God encourages us to fear Him because He knows that this quality will protect us. We note His loving concern in His words to Moses. “If only they [the Israelites] would develop this heart of theirs to fear me and to keep all my commandments always, in order that it might go well with them and their sons to time indefinite.”

End of my ‘sermon’ for today but I trust, sincerely, that those who profess to be genuine Christians may consider this aspect of their spirituality. And yes, discuss.

Careers and companies- thru cocaine
All the Cs- careers, companies, cocaine, crime, corruption. The latter three are curses we can do without. It does not matter how materially successful the wicked become through the Cs that are crime, cocaine, or corruption. Eventually the foundation of such societies rot and too many live shorter lives of fear, uncertainty and dread.

The new morality, however, puts my latter considerations on pause and freeze when regular, more legal, honest circumstances can’t, or take too long to, provide a reasonable, acceptable quality of life. Formerly upright, (religious) folks, seeking a better standard of living, succumb to quicker opportunities, through illegality and the ‘benefits’ of cocaine trafficking now rank high in a sub-culture now very much Guyanese. One tends to become sickened at the successful “role models” that the cocaine barons and their subordinates become. The populace nod knowingly but silently, as they acknowledge that many captains of industry, government and law enforcement officials are (allegedly) involved.

To me, frankly speaking, the real success of the cocaine culture lies in the fact that the beneficiaries blend easily into the larger, not yet fully-tainted society. The baron, or his representative (front), provides cheap consumer items in his store(s); he sponsors sport and concerts; he makes donations to church and charities and his children go to great colleges and good hospitals, drive the best vehicles and mix freely with officialdom’s offspring.

So look around friends, which career was funded by cocaine? Which company was sponsored and fashioned by its funding? Can anything be done without those realities? Discuss.

Ponder…
They read out the names 9/11 World Trade Center Guyanese victims- among the nearly 3,000 who perished ten years ago and the grief was as fresh as ever.

Political critics noted that since 9/11 (2001) more thousands have died in Iraq and Afghanistan ‘in the cause of America’s security’ against terrorists. Always, Americans keep asking whether they are as safe, or even safer, right now.

Notwithstanding all that, Guyanese are among hundreds of thousands still applying to be in the USA.

The former American Ambassador’s conclusions about homosexuality in high Guyanese places should have also accommodated his discoveries about quite a few others. Were those revealed?

‘Til’ next week!
Comments? allanafenty@yahoo.com

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