Scot McKnight relates a compelling story:
I’ll never forget when my Mom’s husband sat me down with Proverbs 1:7 and the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. “Don’t ever forget that boy,” he said in his southern accent. I love that man for sharing his faith. That verse shaped my reverence for God and my approach with my own children. What I’ve come to realize, however, is that fear, a driving force behind Christian fundamentalism, can carry me only to a point. Fear can inform wisdom, but it can also incapacitate, render one couch-bound, cross-legged, moaning, head-bobbing, wallowing in depression. Fear can wake you in the night, fraught, sweaty, vividly imagining burning lakes. That of course, is not God’s endgame, not the response God desires. He desires our love, and if the fear is too heavy, it can crush love.