Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. Mark 5, verses 14-17.
I’m afraid of what I don’t understand. When I’m confronted with something sudden, something unexpected, or something I don’t understand, I fall back to fear. This past weekend’s episode of “The Walking Dead” was about fear of the unknown. The group of survivors was presented with a chance to be safe, to be accepted into an unknown group of secure fellow survivors. The leader (Rick’s) reaction? He was immediately wary, afraid, cautious, even afraid. That’s me. When I’m presented with the unknown, I’m immediately wary. In other words, afraid.
How about you? I’m no different from the folks who came up on the man from the tombs who was, suddenly, in his right mind for the first time in a long time. How about you? Would you feel any different? You know the answer.
And, in our defense, wariness is not always a bad thing. It’s a natural, God-given defense against things that could (or might not) harm us. Until we know more, like Rick in “The Walking Dead,” it’s a healthy thing to be wary. Even to be afraid. But that’s where the fear needs to end. We recently talked about this, about how Jesus is bigger than our fears and how, through Him, we can completely master every fear.
Unfortunately, we’re more like the pig-herders, who saw that something extraordinary had happened, something they couldn’t quite understand. They had grown used to the man being crazy. You could say they were complacent with it; you might even be able to reasonably assume they preferred it that way. It’s the whole ‘devil you know’ thing (pun intended). When he was in his right mind – and when they saw how their livelihood – the pig herd – was destroyed to make the man whole – they didn’t know how to handle him. Their reaction? “Go away Jesus. Don’t go away mad. Just go away.”
Tell me, friend reader, are we any different? You and I, we are complacent with evil in our backyards. ‘As long as it doesn’t affect me, I don’t care what they do.’ NIMBY. You get the picture. I mentioned yesterday how I believe evil lurks even in the suburbs. An example of that is how a neighborhood just down the street from mine recently drove out a girls’ shelter that wanted to set up shop there. We have a huge teen abuse and drug problem in Frisco and this shelter wanted to help for a number of reasons, not the smallest being the neighborhood’s proximity to a good school. Instead, the residents of the neighborhood drove it out. It’s sort of like they pleaded with Jesus for Him to leave.
Admit it: we’re no different. Are we the townspeople, the zombies, or the unkind neighborhood? We’re afraid of what we don’t understand and we sometimes refuse to let Jesus conquer those irrational fears.
Lord, I confess my fears to You. Teach me to conquer them. Fight for me.
Read Mark 5, verses 1-20.