Is It a Sin to be Afraid?

"Do Not Be Afraid"


God clearly doesn’t want us to fear, but fear is inevitable. What is the correct understanding of God’s command not to fear in Scripture? Dr. Ed Welch, counselor and faculty member at Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF), shares his thoughts on fear and encourages Christians to turn to the Lord when, inevitably, they will be afraid.  


Ed Welch has been counseling for over 30 years and has written extensively on the topics of depression, fear, and addictions. He is the author of When People Are Big and God is Small, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Blame it on the Brain, Depression—A Stubborn Darkness, and When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety. 



Ed said that if you believe it is a sin to be afraid, it will affect every single thing you say to a person who is fearful. In many ways, we will be adding guilt to their fear because they are supposedly doing the very thing God commands against.  

Have you ever felt guilty because you were afraid of something or someone? To what extend did you feel like God didn’t want you to be afraid?
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Luke 12:32 (ESV)

32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



Ed said that the imperative in Scripture to not be afraid has more breadth than we give it credit for. In Luke, for example, Jesus calls His people a flock and says that God is pleased to give them His kingdom.  

What dangers do you imagine sheep face? Do you think there’s any way they could not be afraid of these dangers? Why or why not?
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What fears do you face that are inevitable, no matter how hard you try to avoid them?
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Ed said that God knows we are vulnerable. He knows that, like sheep, we often feel defenseless and out of control in a very difficult world. The reason for not being afraid, then, has everything to do with God as our Protector and Help.

Psalm 56:3-4 (ESV)

3When I am afraid,

I put my trust in you.

4In God, whose word I praise,

in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.

What can flesh do to me?

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Psalm 56 assumes that God’s people will be afraid. And when we are afraid, God wants us to trust Him. What is one thing you are currently afraid of?
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What are some typical ways you tend to cope with your fear?
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What does it look like for you to trust God in the midst of your fear?
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Ed said that our God is generous, and He is not far away when His children are in distress. Luke 12:32 says He wants to give His very kingdom to us! As you inevitably face fear in your life, consider the Lord who is trustworthy and kind. There’s no reason to feel guilty for your fear—instead, turn to Him and His peace in the midst of it. 


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