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Not Afraid

Chrysostom of Constantinople, threatened with exile or death, stated in a sermon at the time of his banishment: “What can I fear? Will it be death? But you know that Christ is my life. Will it be exile? But the earth and all its fullness is the Lord’s. Will it be loss of wealth? But we brought nothing into the world and can carry nothing out. Thus all the terrors of the world are contemptible in my eyes, and I smile at all its good things.”

He continued: “Poverty I do not fear. Riches I do not sigh for. Death I do not shrink from, and life I do not desire to save only for the process of souls. And so be if they banish me, I shall be like Elijah! If they throw me in the mire, more like Jeremiah. If they plunge me in the sea, like the prophet Jonah! If into the pit, like Daniel! If they stone me, it is Stephen I shall resemble! John the forerunner, if they cut off my head! Paul, if they beat me with stripes! Isaiah, if they saw me asunder.”

The man of God had captured the meaning of David’s question: Whom shall I fear?

Of whom are you afraid? Your boss? Your hot-tempered associate at work? Your husband? Your wife? Your creditors? Criminals? Communists?

They are but people. In Christ, you have the strength of the Lord. You do not need to be afraid!

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