Beth Parkinson

Creative Media Assistant

CBN Europe

‘Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.’ 

As I read this verse, it reminded me of a conversation I recently had with a friend. We were chatting about how, when someone comes into the room and they are clearly upset or stressed, our default is to wonder what we’ve done to cause that. We were recently both in the same room when it happened and discovered that we’d each independently gone down the same train of thought, and then each taken a pause, examined if we were at fault, and given it back to Jesus. How strange that we would both take the weight of someone else’s mood and have to lay it down again? 

The process in itself is important, vital even, when living in community and wanting to be Jesus-like in our actions. But it is as important to know when to lay those things down and where to draw the line of what is our responsibility to resolve. As Paul wrote in Romans 12v18: 

‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.’ 

‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.’ 

The verse from Proverbs shows us why it’s so important to pay attention to the first half of the verse in Romans. ‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you…’ (Emphasis added). Because fear of man is a trap.

If we only look at the second half of the verse ‘live at peace with everyone’, we can become consumed with people-pleasing, and lose our peace. When we remember that we are to do what is possible, and only be concerned with actioning what ‘depends on’ us, we can live un-snared.

As we trust in the Lord to deal with the rest, whatever that may be – we are kept safe. We can read this as being about physical safety, but I think there’s something here about our peace being kept safe. When we’re able to take someone’s mood or reaction to God, do all that is required of us to make things right (which may be nothing at all) and trust Him to do the rest, we step out of the snare of the fear of man, and we are kept safe.

We are kept free from carrying a burden that is not ours to bear. We let the load of someone else’s worries fall at the foot of the cross, where it belongs. 

Today – take a moment before reacting to the atmosphere another person creates and ask God to show you what action is yours to take and what to hand to Him. And then trust Him to finish the good work He has started.  

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