Say “No” To Fear

Remember those, “No Fear,” decals that young, tough men used to put on their pick-ups? Let’s bring them back and retool them to read, “No to fear.”

Talking with friends lately it is obvious that there is a great sadness enveloping us. We are sad because there are so many people who seem to be driven to do irrational things because of their fear.

One man approached two young Indian engineers in a Kansas bar. Asked what papers they had. Yelled at them to get out of his country. Then he shot them. He later bragged that he shot two Middle Eastern men. No, he shot two men who were helping make America great.

Citizens all over are happily eager to see Mexicans being deported; but then they are shocked when that means some of their most generous neighbors and most productive employees are being rounded up. They are shocked to see people who work hard to make this nation great are being thrown away.

As a nation we have put a team in the White House because they have made absolutely vague promises to solve all our problems at no cost to anyone but our enemies. And they have claimed the right to define who our enemies are for us. They have said that the “media” are our enemies when the freedom of the press is one of the most powerful things that has made America great.

We have done all these things because we have been told to be afraid–to be very afraid. Afraid of the “carnage,” afraid of the outsiders, afraid of the insiders, afraid of everyone in the “media” who does not agree that we should be very afraid.


At Heatherhope Farm we train dogs to herd sheep. We have good dogs who come with a herding instinct built right in. But we can destroy all that good instinct and really mess up our dogs minds with just one thing: runaway emotion. If we get angry or anxious when we are training or handling our dogs, the dogs get confused and go wrong.

So there is a “golden rule” in training and handling. If you find your emotions getting the best of you, stop. Take a break. As long as it takes to breathe deeply and quit letting your gut overrule your good sense. Do it, and calm down, and fix things.


It is a terribly sad thing to look around and see so many of our neighbors and family members and fellow citizens making deals with the devil, all out of fear. When we accept empty promises, and “alternative facts,” and bullying tactics, and infantile whining and blaming, and just plain bad character, all in the hope of getting some of our power and privilege back, we are indeed gambling away many of the things that made this nation great. We are sowing the wind and will surely reap the whirlwind.

As a Christian I know I have a loving God who owns and runs this world. That’s why I don’t have to fear any enemy that hasn’t already been conquered. Death and the devil are done with. So I can look at my fellow man and woman of any skin color, any heritage and any religion as my brother and sister. I can be a strong human being. I can be a strong citizen of this nation that has always been great because of these people. I can control my emotions–even my fear.

It’s time for us all to remember how great and good our God really is.  It’s time to remember how precious all our neighbors are that God gave to us. It’s time to follow our better angels and reclaim our best values as a nation.

It’s time to say “No to fear!”

About John

John is a retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who has served congregations for over 40 years, including in rural, suburban, campus ministry and urban settings. His love of Border Collie sheepdogs has been fortified by his many friendships with shepherds all around the world. Nothing he has ever or will ever accomplish is as significant as the patience God, his wife and his friends have shown in putting up with his deficiencies.
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2 Responses to Say “No” To Fear

  1. Beth D'Antonio says:

    “We are sowing the wind, and will surely reap the whirlwind.”

    It is difficult to control my fear.

    Thank you for reminding me to say NO to the fear.

  2. John says:

    Beth: The only antidote to fear is faith. And faith is sure because it is a gift from God. But, like all good things, we need to cultivate it through our own spiritual work.

    Of course, I know you, and I know you know these things, and you do your spiritual work. Keep taking those pauses. Keep taking those deep breaths. Keep up your work of witnessing to your fearlessness to your loved ones!


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