Q&A with a Priest: Is Fear Also a Sin and How Can We Overcome It?

Question: Fr. Andrew, could you explain what are fear and fright from the Orthodox viewpoint? There prayers against fright, dread, fear and curse. Is this all somehow connected with our character? With mental condition, maybe? Does it depend on us at all? Or are we oppressed by evil forces? I would rather say that this is the work of evil. But could it be so that God prevents us from sin by this? Thank you. Natalia.

Answer by Fr. Andrew Lemeshonok: Indeed, we need to discuss every case separately and must not compile them.

Of course, fright is like sin, for we know that in the perfect love there is no fear. I think sometimes we can say that fear shows our mistrust of God, our lack of faith and doubt. For example, we are afraid of something, there is certain conscious or unconscious fear in our heart. But if we say that we live with God and are protected by the cover of God’s love – then what can we be afraid of? What can separate us from this love? This is why we should confess such fear as sin. If a Christian has fear and does not believe that God will protect him, does he really believe in God? Does he trust Him?

Besides, we should prepare ourselves somehow to become a brave person. A Christian is a warrior of Christ, after all. If a warrior trembles in fear every time he faces his enemy, then of course his victory is questionable. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

There were many examples throughout the history, when cowardly people became true and brave warriors of Christ. I wish you to find strength to become one of such people, who manage to overcome their fears.

November 7, 2018
St. Elisabeth Convent