Tele-evangelists are not my favourite religious leaders. Over the years they have turned me off completely with their messages of gloom and doom. The main purpose of these negative messages is to instill fear in the hearts of everyone. The fear of hell and the afterlife is always stressed. They portray fear as if it were something that we should always think about.
Nevertheless, on Sunday, March 3, 2013, I was fascinated with the message of Joel Osteen, a televangelist. His perspective on the topic of fear is the very opposite of what I have heard from his counterparts.
Osteen cited several instances about the destructive force of perpetual fear and how it can bring about the fulfilment of negative thoughts. The mention of three of these instances will suffice.
Osteen stated that a woman had a very healthy-looking indoor plant, but every day she said to her husband: "I think this plant is going to die." And he would reply: "Stop worrying about the plant, it looks healthy. It's not going to die." But he was unable to convince her. One morning the plant showed signs of wilting and in a few days the plant died. The husband then turned to his wife and said: "Please leave me out of your thoughts."
Osteen's second instance about fear and how it can bring about the fulfilment of negative thoughts, applies to a woman who was obsessed with the fear of burglary. Almost every night for many years she thought she heard sounds of a burglar downstairs. She would awaken her husband and tell him to go downstairs and check. The husband would patiently comply, but there was never a burglar in the house.
However, on one occasion when the husband responded to his wife's incessant demand to investigate, lo and behold he came face to face with a burglar who pointed a gun at him and demanded cash and valuables. After receiving these things the burglar started to leave, but the husband said to him: "Don't be in a hurry to go. I would like you to go upstairs and meet my wife who has been waiting for you for over 30 years."
Joel Osteen's third instance of how morbid fear can be a destructive force, pertains to a man who was always worried and extremely fearful about almost everything. This man worked with refrigerator units. One day he accidently locked himself into one of these units. He was immediately gripped with morbid fear. He shouted and screamed for help. He pounded on the inside of the unit until his hands were swollen, but no help was forthcoming. He then wrote the words: "I am freezing to death, help!" on a piece of cardboard that he found in the unit.
When the door of the unit was opened the following day the terrified man was found in a frozen-like condition. What was mysterious was the fact that the temperature inside the Unit registered 61degrees Fahrenheit.
It is said that "our thoughts create our reality." The Bible states unequivocally: "As a man thinketh, so is he." If we think in terms of fear all the time our fear will likely be fulfilled. Remember that fear can put a stranglehold on our lives.
The fear of failure, for example, is definitely a crippler. If we think in terms of failure we will no doubt fail. But if we think in terms of success, we will no doubt succeed.
What was inspiring about Osteen's message was the fact that he did not only denounce the destructive force of fear, but he also promoted the efficacy of hope.