Scripture repeatedly commands us not to be afraid. It also says that perfect love casts out fear. However, is fear always a negative emotional response?

Wilma Derksen knows what it’s like to be wrought with fear. Wilma’s 13 year old daughter Candace was abducted, tied up, and put in a shed and ended up dying of hypothermia. Wilma and her husband waited seven weeks before learning the fate of their daughter, and to this day they are still waiting for justice.

As a result of her experience, Wilma has been plagued by fear and has learned that there are two different types of fear: one good and the other bad.

“Good fear is adrenaline giving, it usually comes with a challenge and excitement. We actually pay good money to play with fear. We go to movies that get our hearts going, we watch hockey games, and football games, we love the excitement.”

Bad fear is trauma fear, but what’s the difference?

“Trauma fear is when the adrenaline is too much for us. We all have different levels of fear we can tolerate.”

When fear reaches this traumatic level, we usually respond with anger that can escalate to rage.

“Most anger is based in fear, and rage is never a good form of an emotion. Anger is good, but the rage of being out of control is not good.”

Another characteristic of unhealthy of trauma fear is it’s paralyzing nature.

“The ultimate part of fear is paralyzing, fear can just imprison us so instead of trying to understand why we’re afraid, and we will recede into ourselves and almost remain in a prison within ourselves.”

It’s important to understand the difference between healthy fear, that keeps us safe, and unhealthy fear which keeps is trapped.

Wilma Derksen is an international speaker and consultant on victimization and criminal justice. She has told her story and facilitated support groups of survivors of homicide, organized dialogues between victims and inmates in prison, conducted trainings, given lectures, participated in panel discussions, presented her insights to the justice system, and addressed victims’ needs at restorative justice conferences throughout the United States and Canada.

Key Scripture: Isaiah 30:21

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