We are drowning in a culture of fear in America. The message coming daily from the cable news networks is, "Be afriad. Be very afraid!" Yes this is contrary to the a dominant biblical theme: "Fear not!" As my friend Sharon Brous, Rabbi of the IKAR community here in Los Angeles, says in this new video, the Torah is littered with command, "Al tirah," on God's lips. The opposite of fear, in scripture, is love. Instead of closing our hands in fear we are told to open our hands in generosity and compassion (See Deut. 15:7-10).
Jesus echos this long standing tradition when he says,"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Luke 12:32). John, the beloved disciples of Jesus, toward the end of his life, penned these powerful words,
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
In this video, Sharon has reminded us that Jews - and Christians following in the same tradition - have a different vision and calling than others. Our lives should be a demonstration to the world that there is a better way - the way of generosity and love.
Perfect love casts out fear!