The Corona Virus is revealing what we are most of the time very good at hiding: the connection of fear with violence. As the disease spreads, so does panic when it comes near. We’ve seen on the TV people attacking others who aren’t wearing the masks, and the other day we witnessed a group attacking a bus bringing patients from a care facility.
I could philosophize for the rest of the page, but when people feel that life itself is in the balance, fear modulates quickly into violence. I know some would say it’s our evolutionary impulse to survive, and it’s true that the drive to survive can motivate us to do almost anything, but I think there’s more going on here.
Fear breeds violence when people truly believe that this life is all there is. Violence is a reaction to ward off death when death is an enemy to be feared. We as Christians, however, live knowing a completely different reality. Death for us is a transition, not a termination, and we don’t fear it because it has been conquered and will be destroyed.
Fred Rogers, of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, taught children that in the case of emergency or tragedy, “look for the people that are helping; there will always be people who are helping.” In a state of fear, this is where we’ll find the real Christians. When others are in a panic, and violence is rising, true Christians will be the agents of tranquility and stability in a world going mad.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that we are reckless with our health or that of others. Instead, it signals that we know what lies beyond this life and that it’s not to be feared. Fear will find no footing where Jesus lives in the heart of His people.