Fear has a natural advantage over trust. We are much more likely to give our attention and react to something dangerous than to something beautiful. It is the way we are wired. In fact you are here most probably because your forefathers were quick to fear. When our ancient ancestors walked through jungle paths, they had to make split decisions about whether it was a stick or a deadly snake lying across the path. Those who did not instinctively react on fear were less likely to pass on their genes. And so fear became a natural companion to survival, meaning that those who survived were exceptionally good at fearing.

Yet, even the earliest hunter-gatherer communities also knew that there were many benefits to trust. Trust is not instant, and is not necessary for immediate survival, but it opens up possibilities of relationship… and relationship opens up yet more possibilities. To live, work and play together, to share tasks and ideas, have huge benefits. And it all requires trust.

But trust in these primitive communities faced another big obstacle. Meeting other tribes, often resulted in violence and the extermination of many communities. Fear, once again, became an essential ingredient to the survival of cultures. But trust remained essential for the community to function. This strange combination of forces had to co-exist, and so trust was extended mainly to those within the tribe, and fear (often masked as the courage of a warrior) was directed to the others, the unknown. The long slow process of trust was essential to build culture, enable innovation and make creativity possible. And the force of fear meant these cultures were more likely to survive.

The experiences of thousands of individuals over eons of times, as well as the all the processes involved in forming culture over countless generations, are all summarized in your existence. In this way, in you, the past is present. Consequently the process of fear that made survival possible is hard-wired into your psyche. But so is the trust that made community possible.

Fear is instant and part of your survival instinct. Trust takes time and your immediate survival is probably not dependent on it. You actually have to purposely give your attention to what is beautiful/positive for at least 15 seconds for it to make an impression. Yet it opens up spaces, connections and relationships that would be impossible in an atmosphere of fear. Why survive if there is nothing worth living for?

Can we transcend our fearful origins? Can the future be more than a repetition of our violent past?

The Biblical story of the Hebrew people is a story of a group of refugees, immigrants, outcasts. It’s the story of a long and slow journey to trust. How does one trust God in the midst of suffering and injustice? How does one trust others in the face of abuse?

Jesus takes this story to its ultimate conclusion, when he tells those who wish to follow him to: “Love your enemies.” How is that even possible? It is not, if all you see is their enmity. But this is what Jesus comes to reveal – there is a possibility of beauty and goodness even in your enemy. And once you see that there is more to love than what there is to fear, Jesus’ commandment becomes possible as well.

As I reflected on what we did this year and what is possible for 2018, I remembered a conversation we had on Cape Town airport just before our trip to Canada earlier this year. One of our Mimesis Academy students came and had a coffee with us and proceeded to tell us that the greatest transformation she experienced happened when her perception of evil changed.

Like so many of us who were raised in a Christian community, the belief in demonic forces, especially present in those who believe differently from us, became the underlying fear with which she engaged with others. Often, Christian communities are nothing more than little fearful tribes, who use fear to manipulate unity and justify violence against the other. And violence is not always physical. It’s often the way in which we cut off, exclude and erect borders between ourselves and others.

Well, our friend told us how the course on evil (The symbolism of evil) did so much more than change her thinking… she actually started seeing the value and beauty in those she previously feared! A new world opened up in which the mask of enmity dissolved and the beauty of friendship was revealed!

This is what the message of Jesus does! It was never meant to create yet another fearful tribe who justifies their violence in the name of God. It was always meant to break ‘down every dividing wall of hostility’ (Eph 2:14). It was always meant to be a whole new way of being human – one in which we would transcend the fear from which we came and make love a real and lasting experience. And this love is not naive. It is founded on the sober realization that violence played a significant role in forming human consciousness. The cross however exposes violence, and the resurrected Jesus unveils a new possibility: forgiveness. A new seed was planted in human consciousness and a whole new way of being human could grow from it.

Once a year we ask for your support to continue this work at Alwaysloved ministry – one of inspiring friendship and reducing violence. It’s not always the spectacular, instant kind of headline grabbing news we produce. It is more like the slow consistent work of giving people more reasons to love than to fear. Many of you have supported us through the years and your support continues to make this world a better place – thank you!

So may I ask you to consider giving on a monthly basis or as part of your yearly charitable giving at this link: http://alwaysloved.net/giving

Thank you!

A whole new world in which the mask of enmity dissolves and the beauty of friendship is revealed, continues to unfold!

Andre and Mary-Anne Rabe

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9 Responses to “Fear Transformed”

  1. John Leggat on

    Andre and Mary-Anne thank you for always challenging and inspiring us! I agree that both fear and trust co-exist and are “hard-wired” into our psyche. The question is what can transform or override fear? LOVE 1 John 4:18 “Fear cannot exist in this love realm”. Our love union with God expels fear. We are able to love because He loved us first, perhaps we can then allow His unreserved love and acceptance of us, ignite complete trust. If we can all just embrace this love and in turn love and see value in every individual we meet without prejudice the world will surely become a better place. Love you guys!!!

    Reply
    • Andre Rabe on

      Thanks John. I think the possibility of a whole new world and a whole new way of being human is exacty what Jesus came to unveil. And we have the opportunity of partisipating in its creation!

      Reply
  2. Lynn Pereira on

    Again much to digest in your short post!
    The desire of the desire of the nations is to love our enemies!
    Just last sunday In discussing Gods justice the tragedy of Hiroshima was addresed in this statement: “if we had not of dropped the bomb on them they would of done it to us”.
    And so the fear continues while millions of people are murdered.
    “Love your enemies” is the only action essential for humanities well being and ultimately; survival.
    Trust could be the first powerfully dangerous step in the action of love.

    Reply
  3. Andre van Wyk on

    Brilliant!!!!

    Im starting to think that we pass or pick up desire ‘short distance’ (individuals and groups) via mimesis and ‘long distance’ (without direct contact – even outside of time constraints – ) via *morphic resonance and like you said Andre , Jesus has revealed and made possible a different way forward : from fear to love

    Now, via mimesis and morphic resonance (both being unconscious movements and I feel both theories very much compliments each other) we can (with and in Christ) change the thinking of all to follow as the human race exponentially become more ‘enlightened’ both consciously (individual conscious awareness ) and even unconsciously (collective unconsciousness).

    Lastly, I think words like ‘enlightenment’, being ‘born again’ or being ‘saved’ will from now on start taking on a scientific meaning as well as a religious meaning as the walls between theology and science resolve to only reveal Truth wherever ‘they’ (Trinity) can be found

    Please see this video to see what I mean by *morphic resonance:

    Reply
  4. Britt Hanson on

    Andre,
    Thank you so much for always bringing something into our awareness that is so very helpful. I hope my comment does not distract from the point of your article, but adds to the conversation. I do have to admit, like Andre van Wyk , this article also reminded me of morphic resonance and the work of Rupert Sheldrake as well. I was thinking this more and more as I was exposed to mimetic theory and upon reading this article found it again reinforcing those concepts. I have personally found Sheldrake’s theories compelling to my, admittedly, amateur mind, but also compatible very much with Mimetic theory and Evolution. In leaving the myopic view of mechanistic science behind we may find that Christ did something substantial, not even as God, but as a man; not only by being something else to reflect by way of nonviolence, but by actually changing physical reality by introducing, or rather, reintroducing something into the human morphogenic field we hadn’t seen in all its glory, “Trust!” But I will leave that for greater minds to discuss.
    Thank you, Andre, for a great article.

    Reply
  5. Bill on

    Lovely reminder that fear is dominant force in society including the church. My revelation came when I saw how much we live under a dualistic mindset. We are trained in the world (and the church) to be overly-focused on a right and wrong for everything. Jesus demonstrated non-dualistic thinking with His comments to love your enemies. Love is the force behind non-dualistic thinking. All else will push towards dualism. Its no longer us “or” them but us “and” them.

    Reply
  6. Margaret Chapman on

    Thank you for your helpful article. By God’s leading to various websites and now to yours, I am learning to trust God more as His character and purposes for all mankind are revealed. It has bothered me for a long time, as bornagain Christian, why should I fear God if He loves me so much. I realise that in Christian circles, it is called reverential fear, but it still has the notion of God being an angry God. I BELIEVE that it is the love for God that comes from getting to know who He is, more and more that restrains us and causes us to sin less, and to be able to receive His blessings.

    Reply

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