This is the difference between rational fear and irrational fear. I discussed generalized irrational fear in fear the final frontier, and I’ve discussed rational fear in greek word study comparing respect and value as well as in why I don’t respect women.
Rational fear — fearing the consequences of when you do evil — is a healthy fear. This is the fear of God that we all have in our hearts. We should fear and tremble when we commit sin because God is Righteous/Just and abhors sin. Rational fear is an encouragement to do what is right, and to avoid doing what is wrong.
This is the same notion that underlies the concepts of authority and headship. That’s why the Greek word phobeo is used synonymously with fear/respect/reverence in terms of these earthly structures.
Irrational fear — is unhealthy and to be eliminated. This is when you fear/worry about necessities (as Jesus talked about) or have an irrational fear about what “may” happen to you in marriage. Irrational fear is a discouragement. It is often to avoid doing what is right and to do what is wrong (such as speaking out for your faith).
This is an extremely important disctinction to make because often people swing to one end of the pendulum or the other. Men and women when they eliminate “fear” completely from themselves have a tendency to be rebellious against authority. On the other hand, you have nice guys who are paralyzed in the face of women, Christians who are afraid to talk about Jesus and the Scriptures as the Truth, women who live in fear of strangers, rape, creeps, and the like.
I find that it is rational and irrational fear that underlies many false Christian beliefs, and I will continue some of this discussion in my next post on identity.