I laughed when I first heard about arachibutyrophobia.
The fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.
This interesting tidbit got me looking into other phobias.
- Octophobia – the fear of the number 8
- Metrophobia – the fear of poetry
- Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia – the fear of long words (How does the doctor even give the patient his diagnosis without causing a panic attack? “It appears that you are suffering from hippopotomonstrosesquipedalioph …” “AARGH!”)
I should apologize for laughing, though. To those who suffer with these fears, it is a real fear to them, causing the same agitation and consternation that others of us feel about snakes, heights, or the Kardashians
Fear is a powerful emotion—which is why I think so many people enjoy scary movies. There are as many papers written about the psychology of horror movies as there are bad remakes of Dracula, but it seems to me that many people enjoy the emotional rush of fear in the safe environment of a movie theater.
Jesus talked about fear, too, but our cultural use of fear in terms of fright or a phobia can skew our understanding of the type of fear we should have.
We should have fear? Read on …
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him” (Luke 12:4-5).
We are told to fear God because of the ultimate authority He has over us. After all, He is God, and He has full right to throw us into hell.
But check out the next two verses:
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (vv. 6-7).
Now we’re told not to be afraid, because we are greatly valued by God.
“Fear Him … don’t be afraid.” So which is it?
There is no contradiction here, but a wonderful picture of the all-powerful transcendent sovereign God who values us far more than we deserve. I think where we get in trouble is when we go to one extreme or the other. We either totally forget His grace and cower in fear and dread or we treat His grace lightly and do whatever we please.
The place for me to live is in awe of an all-knowing, sovereign God who holds me in His love and grace. It’s a great, secure place to be, but if I choose to abuse or tread on His grace, He will withdraw His hand from me. As Romans 1:24 says, “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts …” If I choose not to live under His grace, He will not force His grace on me. He lets go and leaves me to my own devices.
And “my own devises” have never been to my benefit. Life has taught me that God’s ways are truly far more beneficial. I stand in great awe and reverence—yes, fear—of a great, holy, and righteous God who He loves me and values me.
I want to remain in His hands and swim in His grace. I would be afraid to be anywhere else.