truth fear Macdonald quote

Quote: The truth Fear tells…

truth fear Macdonald quote

I recently finished reading The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald, one of my all-time favorite authors. Among the many wonderful little nuggets he let fall from his pen was this wonderful quote.

“The truth Fear tells is not much better than her lies.” —George MacDonald

This really got me thinking. Yes, you can scare someone into following the rules or seeing the truth, but at what cost? Inside the person is very unlikely to receive any truth they feel is “forced” upon them. Obedience out of fear is really no obedience at all. I think the proper term is, “pyrrhic victory.” Some battles are not worth the cost to win.

Different kinds of fear

I do believe there is a good kind of fear, a healthy kind of fear. Fear of a live wire, fear of a thief in your house, fear of disappointing someone who is counting on you, that sort of thing. But based on the context, I think what MacDonald was singling out here was raw intimidation, bullying or just sheer terror. That’s the kind of fear we must steer clear of.

One of the reasons I’m not all that big a fan of certain aspects of Halloween is the preoccupation with fear and the macabre it brings out in our culture. It’s the bad kind of fear, the kind which does us no good.

All that said, I just loved this quote and how it made me reflect on a truth I think I’ve missed, or at least overlooked. Yes, I know the verse about “speaking the truth in love” (Eph 4:15), but I don’t think I’d stopped to reflect about the negative impact of what failing to do that brings.

Thank you, Mr. MacDonald, for reminding me that the way we share truth is often as important as the truth we share.

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