Fighting FEAR: something more infectious than COVID-19 ⇔
March 2020. wp.krigline.com ⇔
I was teaching in China in April 2003, when the SARS pandemic hit. I’ve adapted the following from an article I posted at that time, from an unknown author. [My article titles that start with ↑ point to additional articles that help us “look up”.]
A previously unknown disease, COVID-19, has entered our daily vocabulary. Now we live our lives in its shadows. While COVID-19 has taken center stage, an ancient and more infectious disease is raising its ugly head. That disease is panic or irrational fear.
The English word panic has its roots in the Greek god Pan. The Greeks attributed unusual forest sounds to Pan. He was believed to be very mischievous and playful as the god of forests, animals, and nature in general. Noises in the woods produced frightful emotions that the Greeks called panic-fear.
We need to have a healthy fear of COVID-19 and to take prudent steps in preventing its spread. You can find many websites that deal with this. But panic-fear creates what it fears. The skier falls as soon as he begins to be afraid of falling. Fear of war can lead a nation to adopt measures that unleash war. The panic that is generated by COVID-19 will weaken our immune system, which will make us more susceptible to this dreaded disease.
Face Our Fears
We must deal with COVID-19 and fear at the same time. The best way to deal with fear is to face it, understand what causes it and then deal with it rationally. The fact is that (according to www.cdc.gov, Mar2020) “for most people, the immediate risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low.” Of course, this depends on where you live and your overall health, but even for most of the people who catch it, it is no worse than the flu.
COVID-19 is a fearful disease because of its suddenness, contagiousness, and mysterious origin. COVID-19 is real and it is having a real impact. But the impact of fear is interest on a debt we do not owe!
While COVID-19 is known to be transmitted through close personal contact, fear is transmitted through all forms of media, including gossip and email. Only an infected COVID-19 patient can transmit COVID-19 to others. But fear can be transmitted by anyone, sometimes even with the best of intentions. While the authorities have become good at disseminating information on COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread, little has been done to arrest FEAR. The public has generally accepted the social responsibility to prevent COVID-19, but little has been said about the irresponsibility of those who spread FEAR. As noted above, FEAR does hurt us. So, how do we deal with FEAR?
1) Admit our FEAR and keep moving forward by living our lives “as normally as possible” while taking necessary precautions. Yes, some customs must change (at least for a while), such as shaking hands. Yes, we need to avoid groups of people for a while (esp. so that we don’t unwittingly pass it on to a cancer patient, elderly person, etc.). But it is ridiculous to “stock up” on toilet paper, and hoarding face-masks keeps them from medical professionals who need them. At the same time, it is always a good practice is wash our hands frequently, and insist on this for our children – but this should be done whether or not COVID-19 exists.
2) Accept FEAR as a price of progress. COVID-19 will hit us or it won’t. Caution is one thing, but our fear will not positively change the outcome.
3) Focus on the things you can control, not on the things you cannot.
4) Feed your faith, not your fear. Faith is a rational trust in what’s trustworthy. Every minute of every day, we have a choice to exercise faith or to allow fear to rule our lives. We can feed our fear or we can starve it. The emotion that we continually act upon (i.e., the one we feed), will dominate our lives. Fear will ruin us, but faith will lift us above the crisis we are facing.
The most trustworthy Object of the universe is the Creator God. He has proven trustworthy for thousands of years, while the philosophies (and diseases) of humans come and go. Certainly, you can reject God’s comfort, but this is often the road to fear. You can also question the love and power of God because of an illness, but the Bible shows why this is irrational (for those who care to study it).
First, we have an unseen enemy who wants to kill and destroy—ignoring the devil does not make him ineffective. Our supernatural adversary first makes us feel secure in our pride and progress, that we might later be overwhelmed with fear and despair. Those who underestimate an enemy or pretend he does not exist, do so to their own peril.
Second, we are prone to wander from all that God says is Good, and God sometimes allows trouble to get our attention and/or to turn us around so that He might relieve our fears and comfort us. Like a good parent or coach, God knows that the way to maturity involves falls from which we choose to get up. And God knows that your faith is more precious than gold [1 Peter 1:6-8], or even than your temporary happiness.
When we trust God, our fears will go away. Speaking of the love of Jesus, the Bible tells us that “perfect love casts out fear” [1 John 4:18]. The Bible also promises those who know Jesus that they have not been given “a spirit of fear, but of power, love and discipline” [2 Timothy 1:7].
Finally, the only fear we need to maintain is the fear (or holy reverence) of God. The Bible tells us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” [Proverbs 9:10]. This is the wisdom that will guide us to live healthy lives, just as Proverbs 10:27 says: “The fear of the Lord prolongs life.”
For a more in-depth article, click over to How to Overcome Fear.
 For more information about Christianity, check out https://peacewithgod.net/