Is Fear Sin? Photo

A lot of things can cause us to be afraid, and many believe fear itself is sin. Others, like me, believe the sin is in how we allow fear to affect us.

I Fear

I sat there inwardly trembling. My stomach knotted up and threatening to rebel. The “what-ifs” running through my mind. The expectation of disaster threatening to shut me down.

I was afraid.

How did I get myself roped into this? How can I get myself out? Maybe, I can just feign illness. I mean, my stomach is lurching erratically. It wouldn’t be that great of a lie. But… I promised I would do this. I need to do this. It is the right thing to do.

My stomach groaned in a convulsive belly flop. Sweat broke out. The war against fear raged within me.

A sweet, well-meaning lady took one look at me and asked if I was OK. This was my way out! I could take it… but no, I will stay. I answer her question with a feeble, “I’m just afraid, but I’ll be fine.”

She responded with a motherly gaze saying, “Fear is sin. You need to repent of it.”

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18 | New International Version

And that statement and verse has haunted me for years, because I fear:

  • Rejection
  • Ridicule
  • Failure
  • Loss
  • Uncertainty
  • Being asked a question I cannot answer.
  • Giving the wrong answer.
  • Being looked to as a leader.
  • And the list goes on… and on… and on.

But fear is not sin, it is real. We all experience it. It is an emotion hard-coded into our beings by the Creator. He did so with purpose.

Fear is a genuine thing; without it there is no courage. The courageous man is the one who overcomes his fear.

Chambers, Oswald (2011-07-14). Faith: A Holy Walk (Kindle Locations 871-873). Discovery House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

The sin is allowing our actions and our lives to be controlled by fear instead of by our faith and trust in God.

In that instance, our fear becomes our idol, our god.

Love Breathed Courage

I look back to 1 John 4:18 – “Perfect love drives out fear.”

Love overcomes fear! It’s not that fear does not happen or should not happen. It’s that, through love, we win the battles against it. Perfect love gives us the courage to stand and move even in the face of fear.

We love because he first loved us.

1 John 4:19 | New International Version

He has given us love. He has enabled us to love. And in so doing, He has given us the ability to rise above our fears and to stand firm! Fears still come, but they hold no power over us because of His love in us and through us.

Is fear sin? Only when we do not stand courageous and firm against it.
Stand Firm by Lynae Zebest. Licensed under Creative Commons. Sourced by


Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 | New International Version

  • In love, guard yourself from all attacks
  • In love, stand firm in the faith
  • In love, be courageous.
  • In love, be strong.

May God’s love – given to us, expressed through us – breathe courage into our living. May His love raise us up above all fear. May we stand and live courageous in service to Him!

Conversation Starter

  1. Do you consider fear itself to be a sin? What verses form the basis of your belief?
  2. How do you deal with fear when it crops up?

Dusty Rayburn