The connection between fear and forgiveness


Are fear and forgiveness opposing concepts? Forgiveness includes acceptance, freedom, love, and understanding. Fear involves dread, terror, and rejection; so how can fear and forgiveness be connected? There is another meaning associated with fear. The American Heritage Dictionary’s third listing for fear is this:  “Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.”

The third sense of the word is one of being overwhelmed by greatness. In the Bible, God is described as so good, so great, and so powerful that fear of Him is an automatic response. Isaiah experiences this when he encounters the living God:

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Isaiah 6:5

Isaiah is not just overwhelmed, he is undone! The character and holiness of God is more than he can endure. Isaiah directly encountered the Living God. He is blown away at the majestic holiness and wonder of God. This is what it means to fear God and why that fear is a good thing.

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