A priest once told me - "the root of anger is always fear". Anytime some is angry, it's always because somewhere inside, they're afraid - they're fearful. For most of us who are comfortable in our own shoes, the only time we're really angry is when we're pushed into a corner. When things around us begin to crash in and we have no other response but to either run away or fight back, and when there is no room to run, we have only one choice and that's to fight back. In that instant, look for the fear.
Fear is one of those weird responses which results in various uncontrollable actions. We see the extremes when fear enters our psychological comfort zone. We see erratic behavior, irrational thinking, physical aggression, emotional breakdowns and everything in between. Fear causes us to act in a way that is not in our natural comfortable state.
Our church teaches that one of the 7 gifts of the holy spirit is fortitude. One of the 4 christian virtues is fortitude. Strength is one of those things that can altar the human response to fear. Looking at the Saints, and the martyrs, their level of strength far surpassed the strength of many of us. St. Francis wanted to go and meet the sultan and prove his beliefs were wrong in hopes to be martyred. He challenged the priests of the sultan to walking across hot coals to prove that the Christian God was the one true God. Sts. Perpetua and Felicity were thrashed around in the amphitheatre by wild beasts after having several chances to deny Christ to save their life. St. Tarcisus was an alter server who took the Eucharist from the catacombs to the Christian prisoners, and was confronted one day. Childhood playmates of his tried to take the Eucharist from him and he held so tight they could not remove the consecrated host from his hands. They proceeded to beat him to the point of death in the streets of Rome. More recently, Immaculée Ilibagiza who was born in 1972 in Rwanda. In 2006 during the Rwanda genocide, a neighboring tribe was out to kill every member of her own Catholic tribe. She hid in a 3x4 feet bathroom with 7 other women for 91 days. To this day, she claims the reason for her strength was solely through her Catholic faith in Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
So many Christians don't believe in those things anymore. We don't have persecution and if we did, most Christians would probably fold because of their fear. Maybe we do face persecution every day and we don't realize it. As a Catholic, I know we get persecuted every day for our stances on contraception, abortion, the Eucharist, the sacraments, salvation, faith and works, the Saints and many other 2000 year old traditions. With these persecutions, most Catholics duck their heads in fear of getting into a debate and not know what to say when challenged. Most Catholics (including me) get overwhelmed when someone of another tradition starts throwing out random scriptures to defend their position even if there are twice as many to defend the Catholic position - the point is we don't know them.
So many would rather just blend in because their fear to stick out. They keep their faith private, they don't speak out against injustice. Many would rather turn their eyes away from the problem rather than dealing with it. I've seen so many parents that would rather be their kid's best friend then their parent... The good thing, is we're all growing! If you've made it this far, then you're probably one of those who are saying "YEAH! I know!!!" More importantly, you're one of the ones who's trying to change that! We all need to learn to be more confident in our faith. Know that our God walks with us in all times especially the more difficult times. If we trust in him, he will probably not make it easier, but he will certainly produce incredible fruits with our sacrifices. Speak loudly! Be convicted! If you're not ready yet, there is only one way to change that...