When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. (Matthew 2:16)
Fear causes us to be irrational. We’ve all known people who, because they were afraid, made stupid decisions. Perhaps it was a coworker who was afraid of looking bad in front of the boss, so he or she tried to cover up a mistake. Or maybe there was a relationship that you feared was going to go away, so you smothered the other person in such a way that it disintegrated.
When we act out of fear, we make irrational decisions that can have lasting repercussions.
Perhaps one of the worst fear-based decisions was when Herod decreed that all boys in and around Bethlehem who were 2 or younger were to be put to death. He was afraid of losing his power to this supposed new-born king. Jesus interrupted Herod’s story, and it made Herod do some unthinkable things. But isn’t that what fear makes all of us do? Unthinkable things?
People who are afraid of losing their positions of authority will do anything they can to keep them – even if it means backstabbing, lying, or any other deceitful action. People protect their reputations at the expense of others. Fear is, unfortunately, a strong motivator. Sadly, however, it isn’t a positive one.
What are you doing out of fear? Will you be able to look back one day and see a plethora of casualties in your wake? Will it be worth it? Herod is remembered as one of the worst kings ever, and his name is forever tarnished. All because he wanted to hold onto something that wasn’t his to begin with.
Lord, aside from fearing You, there is no fear that is worth succumbing to. Help me to see fear for what it is – a lack of trust in Your ultimate authority. Keep me from hurting others and damaging relationships because of fear. Let me, instead, seek to trust You in all things.