Thoughts On Charleston: It's a Terrible Thing to Live in Fear

It's a terrible thing to live in fear.

That's quote from Shawshank Redemption. Red says it (played by Morgan Freeman). In that film a white man and a black man become best friends -- a picture of friendship and racial harmony that stands in shocking contrast to the wickedness that occurred in South Carolina.

And then there's the faith aspect. These people in Charleston, form what I can see, consider their spiritual identity just as important if not more important than their racial identity. And, frankly, sometimes non-religious people or people who are obsessed with class wars or race wars or politics, don't understand that it's possible to place your spiritual faith identity on a much higher level than your racial or socio-economic identity. Charleston was just as much an attack on Christians as it was a racial attack. I consider any Christian part of my family -- a brother, sister, mother, father spiritually -- no matter the race. So an attack on a church feels like an attack on family.

It hurts.

And the knee-jerk reaction (besides shock, disgust, anger) is fear.

But it's a terrible thing to live in fear. When David, who knew a thing or two about tragedy and terrible, wicked deeds done within his own border (even his own family), felt this overwhelming fear, he took it to the Lord with words like this (Psalm 56):

Be merciful to me, my God,
    for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
    all day long they press their attack.
2 My adversaries pursue me all day long;
    in their pride many are attacking me.

3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
4     In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

5 All day long they twist my words;
    all their schemes are for my ruin.
6 They conspire, they lurk,
    they watch my steps,
    hoping to take my life.
7 Because of their wickedness do not[c] let them escape;
    in your anger, God, bring the nations down.

8 Record my misery;
    list my tears on your scroll[d]—
    are they not in your record?
9 Then my enemies will turn back
    when I call for help.
    By this I will know that God is for me.

10 In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise—
11 in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can man do to me?

12 I am under vows to you, my God;
    I will present my thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered me from death
    and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.