Ever since Adam and Eve sinned we’ve been hiding in shame. Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with fig leaves; we try to cover ourselves with our false self-images. We try to present ourselves to the others like we’re something we’re not. We have a wide variety of masks we wear depending on who we’re around and what we think they expect.
We’re posers, we know it, and we’re terrified that eventually someone will see through our masks. So, we keep people at a safe distance. We fear other people because they can expose and humiliate us. Deep down we know that eventually the masks will be thrown off. It cannot last. As Kierkegaard once wrote, “Do you not know that there comes a midnight hour when everyone has thrown off his mask? Do you believe that life will always let itself be mocked? Do you think you can slip away a little before midnight to avoid this? Or are you terrified by it?”
In other words, kill me, but don't keep me from being liked, appreciated, or respected.
Today we would be nice and call the Pharisees people-pleasers. We would say they "struggled with peer pressure." Since all of us are affected by it at one time or another, we are almost sympathetic toward such behavior. But this is perhaps the most tragic form of the fear of man. Teenagers are constantly making unwise decisions because of it. Adults, too, look to people for their cues. We wait for others to take the initiatives of love. We spend too much time wondering what others may have thought about our outfit or the comment we made in a small group meeting. We see opportunities to testify about Christ, but we avoid them. We are more concerned about looking stupid (a fear of people) than we are about acting sinfully (fear of the Lord.)" (Edward Welch, When People are Big and God is Small, 37-40.)
3. “People will hurt me.”
We fear people because they can physically harm us. Don’t think that this kind of fear is experienced only by children and perhaps an adult walking down a dark alley. In most of the world today it could cost you your life to claim to follow Jesus Christ. Safe America is the exception, not the rule.
How Jesus is the Antidote for these Fears
2. If you have Jesus as your Savior, He has forever accepted you. You have been adopted as his son or daughter. He will never forsake you.
We do not need to fear rejection, because we have been permanently accepted by the One who matters most. Ephesians 1:5 goes on to tell believers that, in love God “predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” When someone trusts Jesus as their Savior they are adopted as God’s child. Likewise Galatians 3:26 tells us, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Not only that, but we are also “heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29)
Our adopted Father is a perfect Father. A perfect Father doesn’t abandon or disown His children. God knew ahead of time who He was adopting. He knew what all our struggles and failures would be, and He still choose to go through with it. He will never forsake us. Romans 8:38-39 promises, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”