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How To Dispel Fear and Anxiety After San Bernardino Shooting

Armen Hareyan's picture
San Bernardino and Anxiety Overcoming

Fear and anxiety have reached many souls during the last two days after San Bernardino shooting, but there is a sure way to dispel fear and regain even higher level of peace.

Anxiety and fear challenge the not only our relationships to one another, but also our relationship with God. How does one explain of what happened in San Bernardino or what happened. This writing doesn't intend to answer that question, but rather, how can people dispel fear and anxiety related to the events in San Bernardino or in general.

When we recall the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew 6:30–34 we see that anxiety is a result of a man's separation from God. We also clearly see this thought in the Old Testament, where in Job 15:20 we read, "All the life of an ungodly man is spent in anxiety."

You need determination and resolve

Early church fathers teach us that healing requires determination and resolve. St. Gregory of Sinai, who lived in the 13-14th centuries, writes that “We energize [virtues] according to our resolve ...” That resolve will depend on how "empowered" is your soul. For Christians, it is how God-empowered is your soul, which actually means how much you live according to the will and commandments of God. The more you live by the commandments of God, the less anxiety and fear you will feel and experience in this life. Take, for example, the first three verses of one of the most popular Psalms. In Psalm 90:1-3 the psalmist writes, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.’ For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence …” (Ps 90:1–3).

According to St. Maximus the Confessor fear is the evil that we expect in the future. What we experience in the present time regarding fear is called distress. However, we can be dispassionate in the face of such evils (fear and distress) by becoming contemplative. Being contemplative means striving to be a holy Christian, striving to be united with God and detached from all evil thoughts and works of this world.

Live by Faith

For a growing number of people Faith is becoming a five letter word in our society. Unfortunately, many associate faith with anti-intellectualism. Yet, if you look into the dictionary meaning of the word faith, the dictionary synonyms for faith are allegiance, confidence, loyalty, and trust. Is it possible to live this life without confidence, loyalty and trust?

I guess apostle Peter was one of the greatest psychologists of all the times, when he wrote “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.” (1 Pt 5:6–7) Dear reader, this is exactly our homework in the 21st century. We need to come to the conviction that our lives are so fragile and acknowledge our dependency on God. He has given us commandments, His Word, His Spirit and the church mysteries for healing of our diseases and infirmities.

The Power Jesus Gave To His Disciples

Do you remember what authority our Lord Jesus gave to his disciples? In the Gospel of Matthew we read: “And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.” We cannot live this life without confidence, loyalty and trust in God. All of these together produce the good fruit of selfless love toward one another. When we do this, when we increase our faith and produce good fruits our of the love of our heart, in that kind of relationship with God and people there is no fear. There is no anxiety. There is no darkness. With God's grace you can overcome them. That kind of relationship with God and people is only filled with light and love.

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