Courage is a high virtue. But fear can be our friend. Fear is actually a lifesaver. I agree with writer Elizabeth Gilbert who says,
Don’t leave home without a good healthy fear reflex, or you may find yourself wandering drunk through dangerous neighborhoods at 3am, or riding your bike through city traffic with earbuds in. In these situations, your fear may indeed save your life.
Indeed, fear can save us a lot of pain and heartache. Jesus warned us:
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
Here are five types of people we should love but also, may I propose, fear.
- Jekyll and Hyde People
These are the emotionally unhealthy, unpredictable, and combative people who swing from one emotion to another. We all have Jekyll and Hyde people in our lives. They can be devastating, causing you to walk on egg shells and doubt your standing with them. Love them because you are called to love them, but limit your exposure to them because they can knock you off your mission.
They will deliberately say something to harm you while acting like they didn’t know it would bother you.
They waver in their support of you based on your performance. And if you don’t live up to their expectations, they will pout and alienate you.
Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.
They will enthusiastically agree to do something but then act moody and irritated while performing the task.
- Werewolves People
The werewolf is the person in your life who supports you until they have a “full-moon” moment. Their “full moon” moment may be instigated by a crisis or it may just occur without any measurable cause. They are secretive and love the darkness of anonymity.
Henri Neowen offers some questions for us to ask ourselves as we consider the werewolf:
Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.
- Frankenstein People
Frankenstein people have a head transplant when they really need a heart transplant. These are the people who have correct doctrine and know all the right answers, but they have no compassion for the strugglers. They are not swift in their walk because they are constantly running into people with whom they disagree on an intellectual level. Their heart is not engaged and compassionated because they are too busy judging people. Therefore they are the original walking dead.
- Blob People
Blob people take up space and have no arms or legs for service and mission. These are the people that focus on feeding themselves, satisfying themselves and justifying themselves but never do any good for the people around them. Everything is focused on how it affects their standing and not the overall health of the church or organization. Blob people are analysts and taste testers. They attend but rarely volunteer.
- Godzilla People
These folks are bigger than life, ego-driven, and often destructive. Godzilla people display many talents and lead many organizations, but their success, while initially undeniable, is often short-lived because they leave so many people in their wake. They are excellent at tearing down and shaking up– a necessary task from time to time, but they don’t have the desire or acumen to build.
St. Paul encourages us to use our words to build up:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
So what’s the silver bullet for these villains?
Chances are, you’ve been the monster from time to time. I certain have! We tame the beast through community. We must work on each other. Monsters have allies but few deep friendships. To overcome monstrous episodes we must find communities that nurture authenticity and truth-telling.
And if you find yourself in relationship with a monster, speak the truth but also avoid feeding the beast. Their curse is infectious.