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Thu, Oct

Fear is Contagious

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First John 4:18 says, “…because fear has torment….” Way back home in South Africa, I knew this family that had daughters who would go to the river to fetch water for the general use of the family. They had this strong belief that water should not be brought into the house once it was dark because when you do, you inadvertently bring evil spirits into the house.


I have always wondered what the correlation is between fetching water in a stream, bringing it into the house at dusk and evil spirits. If you look deeper you would realise that thoughts and superstitious beliefs, such as the one cited above, indeed go a long way. They have been passed down from one generation to the other so much that it has, overtime, become the norm and practice.

Superstitious beliefs and practices are embedded in all cultures across the globe in different forms and have been in existence from time immemorial. They are irrational beliefs that an object, action or circumstance not logically related to a course of event influences its outcome. They are widely held beliefs which are not based on facts, reason or scientific knowledge and are usually unjustifiable but have their roots in fables, magic, myths etc. As a result of the elements of myths, magic and fables, fear becomes a driving force which entrenches or reinforces these beliefs deeper into the fabric of society. That is why you would see someone who gave his or her life to Christ a long time ago still holding on to superstitious beliefs. Superstition most times is fuelled by fear and fear, according to God’s Word, has torment.
While growing up as a child, I enjoyed visiting my great grandmother in the village. I looked forward to every school break or holiday with so much glee, not just because I did not get to go to school for a while but also because I was afforded the opportunity to see and spend time with my great grandmother whom I loved dearly. Those were truly wonderful times filled with lots of loving memories which I love to recount. In retrospect, I must admit I now find some of those incidents, which over time became the bedrock of those memories, extremely funny and unbelievable but filled with timeless lessons all the same.
We also need to tell ourselves constantly and get it into our spirit man through meditation on God’s Word that we have been redeemed from the curse of the Law by Christ. Anything contrary to this is a lie of the devil.
My great grandma was unusually scared of snakes to a point of paranoia. She practically saw snakes around the house, which is understandable, because there were unfarmed land all around the house which had grown into bushes. Anytime she mentioned seeing a snake in the house – whether real or imagined, everyone in the house would go into panic mode as we searched frantically for the snake. Why? Unconsciously my great grandma had succeeded in transferring her fear of snakes to every member of the household. Though the rest of the family did not see the snake but because fear is contagious, we were able to visualise it crawling around the house with its potential danger in mind. As a result of this experience, whenever I see a bush, it becomes quite logical to think of snakes.
Over time I have come to realise that, to a large degree, we are who we are based on the things we have seen, heard and internalised as children. What we pick up while growing up serve most times as foundation for the person we become later in life. Once this value system becomes deeply entrenched in us, it becomes quite difficult to re-orient ourselves. This is why we need to be very careful in sending the right and not confusing signals to our children.
In a home setting, children pick things and learn faster from what they see their parents or the adults around them do. This way, they unconsciously pick their strengths and weaknesses. If you want a child to learn morals, values, manners etc., just put into consistent practice what you will have them learn and you will see them demonstrate those things effortlessly in no time. Also if all you talk about in your home is rooted in fear, superstitious beliefs and negativity, in a short while you will see your children act in conformity with your words. As parents, we ought to teach our children by example, using God’s Word as a framework, and not instil superstitious beliefs or fear in them.
We may have been told, while growing up, that due to the sins of our ancestors or because of an incident that happened generations past in our lineage, members of our family do not succeed in life or get married and if peradventure they do, they end up having failed marriages. But as children of God we should realise that though it might have been the case in times past when we did not know Christ, it is no longer applicable to us now that we are in Christ because we are new creations in Him. The Bible says that old things have passed away and we have become a new creation born into the family of God. We also need to tell ourselves constantly and get it into our spirit man through meditation on God’s Word that we have been redeemed from the curse of the Law by Christ. Anything contrary to this is a lie of the devil. When we believe the devil, we give him the power he does not have. Let us choose instead to believe God and be free from the lies of the devil.

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