In July 2014, Conrad Roy III, 18 years old, ended his life by inhaling carbon monoxide in his pickup truck. According to CNN.com, Roy killed himself because his girlfriend encouraged him to do so.
In an article entitled, “Girlfriend in Texting Suicide Trial Sent Me Chilling Message, Friend Says,” reporters, Ray Sanchez and Natasha Lance state that Roy had purchased plastic tubing and connected the tube to a portable gas tank in the back of his truck. As he inhaled the fumes, he had second thoughts about the suicide and panicked. He left his vehicle and texted his girlfriend Michelle Carter; however, instead of talking him out of it, calling the police or his parents, Carter demanded Roy return to the car and finish the job.
Reporters confirmed that Roy attempted suicide before, and had difficulties with his parent’s divorce and had a history of both physical and mental abuse. Even so, transcripts of a text dated June 23, 2014, shows that Roy sent the following message to Carter, “I hate myself I’ll always hate myself, I’m never gonna view myself as good, I’m so far behind.”
It is noticeable that instead of blaming his family situation, Roy suggests that his feeling of worthlessness stems from his inability to be good. Thus, the guilt over past sin allowed Roy to submit to an evil young woman, who helped him orchestrate his destruction.
People have power. We enable them to dictate to us what is right and wrong, and then we follow their secular advice to feel loved or a part of a group. We want to please people more than we want fellowship with God.
Even so, the fear of man can take on many forms. Some forms of anxiety encompass the mystic belief that we can read a person’s behavior and interrupt their actions with disapproval or a judgment against us.
However, if people could see into the depths of our soul, would it matter?
Genesis 3 tells how Adam and Eve felt shame after disobeying God. Before their sin, they walked unabashedly in the garden. After eating the forbidden fruit, they hid and covered themselves from God’s knowing glance. Therefore, the shame of their guilt brought them a sincere desire to hide from a holy God.
Even so, we have tampered down our fear of God and exchanged it for fear of a man or woman who is equally unclean before God.
In his book, When People Are and Big God is Small, Dr. Edward T. Welch says, “Shame and low self-esteem are both rooted in Adam’s sin. The problem is, in part, our nakedness before God. We stand ultimately under his penetrating, holy gaze. When we are aware that we have violated God’s righteousness, that gaze will condemn us unless we confess our sins and affirm that by faith ‘we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.’ (Heb. 10:10).”
If you are experiencing the fear of man, then maybe it’s time to examine your heart and see if there is any unconfessed sin. If so, we need to repent of it and dwell no longer on the act. Harboring guilt and shame over past-confessed sin is a warning sign of unbelief. Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (ESV) His work on the cross has washed us clean, and we are free of the sin and guilt.
Psalm 56:10-11says, “In God, whose word I praise, I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (ESV)