Psalm 5: Braggarts cannot stand in your sight; you hate all those who work wickedness.
Not long after the Nike ad campaign “No fear” took off, I saw a sticker which said, “Ain’t skeered.” I loved that a person wanted to claim the fearlessness of the slogan, but made fun of its arrogance and self-importance.
Fear can be necessary and useful, as we need to be aware of danger to remain safe. But we also need to avoid letting petty fears shape us and our actions, especially when that fear pushes us to hurt another human being.
Psalm 5 speaks of “braggarts,” saying to God that they “cannot stand in your sight.” The writer then goes on to speak of “those who work wickedness,” implying that people who brag are wicked people.
I believe that braggarts and bullies are among the most frightened people in our culture, so I resist seeing them as evil or harmful. They feel the need to push people around--physically, verbally, and emotionally--to hide their fear of insignificance. They provoke fear or alarm in others to have a sense of power.
The only way a braggart or bully can harm me is by dragging me into their game, where I become defensive or angry. And I often do play along, later regretting that I let another person’s fear transfer to me. Then it is not only braggarts and bullies who lash out, but people like me reacting to their venom.
But, for the record, we ain’t skeered.
Copyright 2020 by Carol Mead. For noncommercial use and sharing only. For more information on this ministry, and on a free subscription to these meditations, please go to the website (www.holyordinary.com).
Psalm 6; Numbers 35:1-3, 9-15, 30-34; Romans 8:31-39; Matthew 23:13-26