Fear and Love…Oil and Water

THIS FROM THE DAY’S NEWS: Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee report that the human brain registers facial expressions of fear faster than any other expression. In their study, smiles took the longest to register.

Seeing a face wearing an expression of fear sends an alarm straight to the amygdala—the part of the brain that cues human beings to potential threats. The researchers theorize that we’re wired to pick up on fear cues quickly, as part of our self-protective survival mechanism.

Some—perhaps far too many of us—live our entire lives from a base of fear. Fear of what other people think of us. Fear of loss or death. Fear of not having enough—or not being good enough. Fear of failing. Fear of God’s anger. And a host of other “phobias”—fear of heights, fear of tight spaces, fear of spiders and snakes.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God came to visit them in the evening and called out, “Where are you?”

“I heard Your voice,” Adam replied. “And I was afraid.”

Adam had never been afraid before. But sin is like that. It brings fear. From that moment in the Garden till now, fear has reigned.

Yet even in this life, there is one sure antidote for fear: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18.

Fear and love are oil and water. No fear existed before sin. No fear will exist when sin is gone again. And in the meantime, love can cast out fear.

I’m quite certain that in Heaven, if we even still have an amygdala inside us, it will have a totally new job to do. Because there, hypervigilance in the service of survival will be utterly unnecessary. We will not live under the threat of loss or death.

It will be quite nice to live in a place where smiles register instantly—and facial expressions of fear will be ancient history.


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