I saw this doe early one evening last summer. She seemed surprised to see me walking in her field. We both stared at each other, her big brown eyes giving me the once over. She decided I wasn’t a threat and kept eating grass occasionally glancing up at me to see what I was doing.
I wonder if that is what humans do. Give each other the once over and use clues to decide who is a threat and who is not. I’ve always been too trusting. I think everyone wants to good and loving toward each other. I know that’s not true, it’s what I want to believe.
I was close friends with a man called Bobo who spent thirty years in prison. He was a bank robber. During one of his robberies, a policeman fired his weapon killing a man. The bank robbers were charged with felony murder. Without the bank robbery, the policeman would not have had to draw his weapon and the stray bullet would not have killed the man.
When I met Bobo, he had found Jesus, was remorseful about his life, and he had talked with over 10,000 young people who had come to the prison. This was not the “Scared Straight Program” it was just Bobo telling the kids why they should not choose a life of crime. He was a compelling speaker.
Bobo told me people operate out of fear. Fear is the cause of secondary emotions like anger, he said and intense emotions make people do stupid things.
And then he told me that “Fear not” is the most repeated command in the Bible. Jesus was always telling the crowds not to fear. If only we would listen to Jesus..
Fear is the emotion that kept us safe back when humans were living outdoors trying to keep actual wolves at bay. Fear is different now.
Lent is a good time to examine our fears. At this time in our lives, what are we most afraid of? What would happen if we obeyed the commandment to fear not? What would be different?