Proverbs 29:25 (ESV) The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.
Matthew 10:27-28 (ESV) What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Psalm 118:4-8 (ESV) Let those who fear the LORD say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
Sometimes, we let fear of disapproval or the implied/open threats of others be what determines our course in life. And it’s not an imaginary struggle, as I don’t think anyone appreciates being actually ostracized, bullied or otherwise mistreated by condescending, angry or pushy acquaintances.
Other times, we can be specifically focused on actively gaining some personal advantage by pleasing the people around us.
Personally, I’ve tended to struggle with speaking my mind around others when conflict appears to be the inevitable end result.
Thus, “keeping the peace” has always been a high priority, regardless of what I think I’d rather do.
Showing respect for the non-sinful interests of others is good. However, remaining silent about a legitimate concern is a sin.
Sometimes, my motive for doing even the right things has been to feel appreciated and useful. That’s an attempt to self-medicate an unhealthy view of self-worth.
Anyway, one of the reasons this type of interaction should be considered a “snare”, is that it enslaves us to doing the will of others. That is dangerous, because
1. The moods, interests, intellectual stability, and desires of people are not static. It’s exhausting to try to figure out which tune they are playing today and how to keep in step with it.
2. Their plans for us may not be as straightforward as they appear, and may not have our best interest anywhere in sight.
3. In order to faithfully follow another individual’s preferred path, one must learn to ignore his/her own conscience before God.
By contrast, God’s plan and intention for us is always good and trustworthy. (Psalm 103:17; Isaiah 54:8, 61:8
His way is the path of love and eternal Life. (Matthew 21:27-30; John 14:6; John 6:67-69; 1 John 4:16)
He even gives us the ability to walk in the direction He instructs us to go. ( Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 28:7-8; Philippians 4:12-13; Romans 14:4)
Hebrews 13:1-6 (ESV) Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”