I came of age in the 80s, singing along with my cassette tapes “like a virgin” before I really understood what that song meant. It was a time when every teenage girl in my small town wanted to be like Madonna or Cyndi Lauper. “Girls just wanna have fun” was our anthem. Neon, large earrings, and funky prints were our uniform; Aquanet was our secret weapon.
The 80s was a fun time to grow up…for kids. For adults, it was also a scary time.
Cold War and the threat of communism was the fear du jour.
The USSR had nuclear weapons and they were pointed right at the USA. I didn’t think much about the impending doom of nukes pointed directly at us from across the world. I was a self-absorbed teenager, after all. That was until one day in science class.
True story: My science teacher, Mrs. Moser, during a routine tornado drill, informed us that if the Russians dropped the bomb we where to crawl under our desks for shelter. I was like, wait, what?
That advise is antiquated and laughable today, but she was dead serious with her directions…and her fear wasn’t lost on me.
Then, there was the movie Red Dawn. People were scared of the USSR. That fear showed up in movies, book, & music. It was then I first realized there were big fears in the world. I was kind of an impressionable girl.
The world was scary then. It’s scary still. In 2015, not much has changed except the fear isn’t Russia, it’s ISIS. Every generation has their fear.
The years have rolled by but the threat hasn’t changed. We call it by different names but they are all the same: it’s good vs. evil.
From the beginning of time, in the book of Genesis in the heart of the Garden of Eden, there was the struggle of good vs evil. History is full of examples. Today, you can’t escape it. The assault feels almost daily.
Why is that? Is it because we humans can’t help ourselves? Because from that very first time in the Garden, when peace was offered we chose the opposite? We chosen the path away from God? Most days it feels the world is choosing that same path.
My heart is tired of seeing war, terror, and hatred. I am not tired of seeing love, kindness and courage. So, how do we fight against the fear and terror of this world? Do what was done in the beginning….the opposite.
Some antonyms of fear is calmness, love, comfort, and encouragement.
My heart is tired of the headlines, so is my body. Anxiety has physical effects too. But, my faith is still here. Doesn’t He command us, “Do not fear”? Maybe the best defense to terror is to refuse to fear.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
The best way to fight evil is not with more evil, it’s with more good. Because it’s easy to be kind to those who are kind to you. It’s harder, and more worthwhile, to show kindness when all hell breaking loose.
In this season of giving, let’s give the best gift of all. The gift of kindness.
To quote Genesis (the 80s band), “This is the world we live in. And these are the hands we’re given. Use them and let’s start trying. To make it a place worth living in.”