Derek’s words about fearing God reminded me of a comment I had made to him earlier in the week. As I was walking out of the house we live in, I told him a joke I have about myself. I am generally carefree which means that I’m not particularly careful(l). Being not particularly careful, I can be careless. And then I told him: “and I don’t think I’m very respectful. I don’t try to disrespect people but I don’t think I really go out of my way to respect others either.” So I found the timing of his reflection apt.
As I spent some time reflecting on his words, I remembered that another way to talk about fear is to talk about respect. Respect is generally attributed to a form of admiration. But I don’t think that growing up as I have that I learned to admire very much. Sarcasm is a second language for me. Sarcasm, at its core, disgraces. I operate in a culture built around disrespect. In the absence of respect, almost anything goes because there is nothing to save. Value is gone.
This thought reminded me of a fable attributed to Aesop which became a prayer for me earlier this year. A short version goes that there was once a rooster strutting around the farm. He wandered in to a barn and saw something shiny in the hay. “Dibs!” he yells, digging it out. The shiny thing was a pearl. But realizing this, he says, “you may be a treasure to people but for me, I would rather a piece of barley than a whole barn of pearls.” The moral of the fable is that precious things are for those that can prize them. Humans value pearls and interact with them with respect. We treat pearls with admiration. I was stopped in my tracks and found the fable became a prayer for me.
At the time I had been asking God why I was still single. He seemed to be saying that I was not presently able to cherish someone other than myself. That was a pretty crushing realization but I responded by asking God every morning and multiple times a day for a heart that prizes precious people and precious things.
That journey into awareness of respect and practicing it returned to me reflecting on Derek’s comments and illuminated them. Fear is generally the emotion attached to believing someone or something is dangerous. God is quite dangerous. To quote C.S. Lewis’ ubiquitous phrase about Christ: “He is not a tame lion.”
We’ll try to make full bed partners of fear and admiration next time.
- Ben :D