Fear of Man

” The fear of human opinion disables;
    trusting in God protects you from that.” – The Message

Depending on your temperament particularly, you may have an inordinate “fear of man”, or fear of human opinions. It can be disabling and debilitating. There are numerous reasons why we would care so much about others opinion of us and put more stock in what they think than what God thinks about us. Insecurities, lack of identity, past rejections or failures, fear of exposure (lack of vulnerability), wanting to fit in… approval addiction.

Bottom line is, God has already defined us, accepted us, and actually made us in His image. But as Blaze Paschal said, “God made man in His image, and man returned the favor.” We look at God as if he were just like us, we “make Him in our image”, so his opinion doesn’t affect us or impact us in the way He intends… in a defining way

 We often care about other people’s opinion more than we care about God’s opinion. We worry about our status among fellow humans because we fail to grasp our true identity. When we “fear” man, we’re vulnerable. Here are eight consequences—snares—that can result from fear of man:

  1. Idolatry. When we care about what man thinks more than what God thinks, we turn people into idols that we worship—seeking to please them in order to earn their approval or respect.
  2. Ineffectiveness. When we fear man we neglect God’s calling for us and we lose focus on executing the tasks in front of us because we’re too preoccupied with what others are thinking.
  3. Lack of love. When we’re overly concerned with “getting it right,” we turn people into projects to accomplish. We withhold our compassion and grow reserved and calculating in our pursuit of people.
  4. Inauthenticity. If you’re overly motivated by the opinions of others, you won’t act like yourself. You’ll be a chameleon, adapting yourself to any situation for the sole purpose of fitting in.
  5. Apathy. Fear man and you’ll quit taking risks because of the potential for embarrassment in failure. If an endeavor is unlikely to succeed, you’ll never take the chance. In other words, you’ll never do much of anything.
  6. Dishonesty. It’s tough to speak truth into someone’s life because the truth can be painful. If we fear somebody’s response, however, necessary words will remain unsaid because we care more about ourselves (being liked) than we do about the person (seeing God at work in their life). This negligence always creates more long-term damage than the hurt it avoids in the present.
  7. Isolation. Fear of man won’t let you delegate anything because others might not do a good job (or they might do a better job), which could reflect poorly on your performance and reputation. Fear of man compels you to attempt to control everything—even if that means going it alone.
  8. Decision Paralysis. When we live out of fear rather than out of the convictions God has given us, we spin in circles unable to move forward.

-Jamie Munson / Adapted – BH

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