Saint Nicholas Velimirovich
‘Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land’ (Lev.25, 18).
Why is it that all nations are afraid? What do nations fear on earth? What do people fear on earth?
One nation fears another; one nation trembles before another. One person fears another; one person trembles before another.
And the first ancestor of us all, Adam, was afraid in paradise. He was overcome by fear in paradise. So how is it possible that the descendants of Adam shouldn’t be overcome by fear, given that we’ve been exiled from paradise?
When Adam and his wife disobeyed God’s commandment, they hid from the face of God (Gen. 3, 8). They hid among the trees of paradise, they hid in the forest, they hid in the same way as an ostrich, burying its head in the sand to avoid being seen by its enemy.
When God asked: ‘Where are you?’, Adam replied: ‘I heard your voice and was afraid’.
And the same is true today with the descendants of Adam. When children do as they’re told by their parents, they’re happy to hear their voices and go to them. But when they don’t, they’re frightened when they hear the voice of their parents and run way from them. They hide behind the furniture in the house, as if it were a forest, and try to find refuge in something weird, rather than their parents. And when the parents show their love with the cry: ‘Where are you?’, the child who’s been misbehaving answers in the same way as Adam did to God: ‘I heard your voice and was afraid’.
At this point, we touch the fundamentals of human nature and the basis of our relationship with God our Savior. And both of these come together. They come together in love. If you love, you don’t fear. Perfect love expels fear.
Cast your gaze on all the facets of your life, you who were begotten from the earth, and you’ll realize how true this phrase is: prefect love expels fear. Where love is present, there’s no fear. When love’s absent, fear rules. Where does fear come from? From the loss of love. What does love consist of? Let the apostle speak: ‘Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands’ (1 Jn. 2, 2-3).
Once God’s commandments is broken, love flies away like a bird from the heart of those who broke the commandment. And that part of their heart is then occupied by fear. There’s no difference between fear and disobedience, sin and transgression.
Do you now understand, brothers and sisters, why Adam became afraid and ran away so as not to see God’s face? He was afraid, because he’d broken God’s command. Do you understand now why one person fears another and why one nation is afraid of another?
As it was then, so it is today. Where there’s disobedience as regards God’s commandments, there’s also fear. And fear weakens and degrades people. Is there any remedy for fear for people and nations? There is, in the supreme Physician. He wrote the prescription for this remedy in the Old Testament and in the New. It reads as follows: ‘Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land’.
This is how God in the highest spoke through his prophet in the Old Testament. And in the New he said, through the apostles: ‘Those who love don’t fear. We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands’.
People and nations of the earth, if you want to live peacefully, without fear, arm yourselves with the weapon called love.