Fear not, grief and joy

From John Dear


The journey of peace and nonviolence begins with grief and continues with joy.

Video Interview Transcript

Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. We all have to get that through our heads. I mean, we can spend our whole lives in fear and the culture of war wants us to be afraid. Certainly, I think every government tries to instill fear. "You've got to be afraid of them. They're going to get you. You're gonna get killed." No. We practice fearlessness. So Gandhi professed a vow of fearlessness. But the flipside of all of this, of Jesus, the nonviolent Jesus saying don't cultivate anger or fear. They won't help the life of nonviolence.
Jesus advocated two emotions, grief and joy. They're right there in the sermon on the mount. Blessed are those who grieve. Blessed are those who mourn. That's, the journey of peace and nonviolence begins with grief. If we're all one with all 7.2 billion people on the planet then we're grieving because millions have been killed, millions are dying from poverty and the threat of war. So we're grieving and that grief leads to widening our hearts into greater compassion.
And also he says blessed are you when they persecute for working for justice and blessed are you when they insult you and call you every name in the book. Rejoice and be glad. Now you get to be like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, like the prophets of old. You get to practice nonviolence. But the word there is joy. But (Desmond) Tutu when I was with him recently he said, "I've spent my whole life weeping and my whole life laughing." That's the emotional life of nonviolence.

Discussion starter questions
  • How are you doing with the "do not be afraid" concept?
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