“For God has not given us a spirit of fear…” 2 Timothy 1:7
Spooky. Scary. Creepy. Horror. Fright. Fear. Americans as a whole seem to be enjoying these words more and more. From movies like Paranormal Activity and the Saw series, to the grotesque road signs for Universal’s celebration of “Horror,” we seem to thrive off being scared. Some call it thrilling or fun, others like the suspense and “jump out of our seat” type moments. Can these scary movies and other media just be clean fun?
Despite the various times in the Bible where scripture denounces fear, worry and anxiety, we seek it out and claim to enjoy it. One of the verses I take to heart is 1 John 4:16-19,
“God is love…and there is no fear in love.”
If God embodies “love,” and the verse goes on to say “perfect love drives out all fear,” is it really something we need to expose ourselves to? Another excuse is the thought that if I personally don’t get scared, then I don’t struggle with fear. But do you worry what tomorrow brings? Do you fear what will happen to your possessions or health more often than not? The Sprit of Fear is not reserved just for the bogey man, it is something that can take hold of our mind and affect us in a very pervasive way.
I used to struggle a great deal with fear, and still do to some extent. I would actually be afraid of darkness or other trivial things. But I used to enjoy watching “scary” movies, like The Ring, or White Noise. Perhaps like others, these movies affected me, and the disturbing images I saw would replay in my head. I realized this was affecting my general state of mind and realized movies, tv shows and even commercials that contain even a hint of fear need to be avoided.
While you may not be afraid of every little thing, and you may even say horror and frightening movies don’t affect you, these genres of media are all driven by fear. And fear is an enemy, not something to be embraced or accepted.
Think about this. If a child was never exposed to frightening images, or even cartoons of ghosts and other evil characters, never told about monsters or scary creatures, would he or she ever have a nightmare? The mind cannot recall something it has never seen or heard, so would that child ever be scared of what’s in the closet or under the bed? Could they live a life free from being scared of the dark?
I continually hold on to that verse, “perfect love drives out all fear.” Regardless of whether you feel a struggle with fear or not, God clearly says he did not give us this spirit, and thus it cannot be good. Fear was not designed by God, and it is not meant for pleasure. The truth is, there ARE things to fear besides fear itself, and God calls us to drive them out.