As a child, I was constantly reading the Bible in my private Christian school classrooms and saw many passages that said we are to “fear God.” This made an impact on me. The teachers never fully explained what this meant and just brushed over it. This put literal fear into me of God and His judgment. Now as an adult and through my trials, I have seen that the word “fear” is really a terrible word to translate the true meaning. This fear is “to be held in awe,” “to be astonished” and “to always remember that He is GOD, the creator of all things.” In this, we have reverence of His Holy awesome power. To fear God is not to be afraid of Him. Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” We first recognize God as God, and then He reveals Himself to us and the more we know Him, the more we have knowledge through Him.
Think of a time when your motives were misunderstood. I thought back to more than several occasions that my girlfriend had an unwarranted reaction to me. Many times I kindly said, “make sure you get ready on time so you aren’t late.” She would say back, “don’t be mean to me!” or “don’t yell at me!” I only wanted her to come over sooner so we could spend more time together. It really made my heart feel sad that she would even think I was being mean or yelling when I had no motive of cruelty and I certainly wasn’t raising my voice. I can only imagine how much more God’s heart breaks when His children fear Him, or more literally, are afraid of Him. He does not abuse His children. He is excruciatingly patient with us. In times of danger, He disciplines us in life to protect us from future harm. He refines us through our experiences. He allows us to go through things so that we are shaped to have a stronger faith. He is just and loving. He does not want us to be afraid of Him. He opens His arms in love to us. How sad is it when we flinch like an abused animal.