The enemy uses fear to prevent us from building relationships with one another. Danielle Strickland believes this is especially true when it comes to building relationships with people who are experiencing homelessness. She explains the dividing factor,
“Fear is a blanket that covers homeless people. It keeps us from them, which robs us of a relationship with someone who is different than us and who has experienced great pain and suffering, but also has experienced some incredible faith-building situations.”
“It also prevents them from us. Many of them actually could really use a friend that doesn’t need something from them.”
Fear often creates misconceptions and hinders us from having honest interactions with people who are different from us.
“Fear always commodifies people, so it’s “those homeless people.” But when you actually go meet these homeless people, there are actually some of the nicest, kindest, most generous people you’ve ever met. Then you think to yourself, ‘what was I thinking? What was I afraid of?’”
If we are going to follow Jesus, then we are going to find ourselves confronting fears. We can learn more about confronting our fear by looking at Jesus’ example,
“You see in the life of Jesus this tenacious direction, where he’s constantly posturing himself in the place where it’s the scariest for the disciples. He’s always going to the other side of the lake; which is where those people live and we don’t ever go there.
“He is always finding himself with the prostituted woman, or the woman who is sick and the disciples are literally confronting their fear almost every day when they when they follow Jesus.”
Comfort has become an idol in our lives and we tend to resist anything that confronts our fears. Danielle shares from her personal experience,
“Comfort is an idol in my life that I have to confront, the Lord is constantly saying ‘there will be nothing in front of Me, so it’s going to be your comfort or it’s going to be obedience to Me.’ I have to make this decision sort of on a daily basis to follow Jesus or not.”
Instead of resisting our fears, we need to confront them with Christ so that we can experience the fullness of God in daily interactions.
Danielle Strickland loves Jesus and she loves people. She loves the more fragile in communities around the world. Over the years that has led her to back alleys and late night streets to partner with Jesus in rescuing those caught up in drugs and homelessness and prostitution and despair. Her books include The Liberating Truth: How Jesus Empowers Women and A Beautiful Mess: How God Re-Creates Our Lives.