Personal Punishment

The late Norman Vincent Peale, related how he once was visiting friends in Jamaica, and noticed an old map of this Caribbean island hanging on the wall.

Across one barren and deserted area in the mountains ran a faint line of very small script.

Looking closer, he was able to read it.

It said, “The Land of Look-Behind.”

Intrigued, he ask his host what it meant.

“Oh,” he said, “that map goes back to the days when there was still slavery here in Jamaica. When slaves escaped, as they sometimes did, they’d head for those mountains. Now and then the government would send troops in an effort to capture these poor runaways. So they must have spent a lot of time looking fearfully over their shoulders. And that’s where the name came from. Rather romantic, isn’t it? The Land of Look-Behind.”

“To us, yes,” Peale said. “To those poor souls, no. They might have escaped from the sugar plantations, but they were still slaves – slaves to fear. They had no real freedom. They were still wearing invisible chains.”

There is an interesting statement in 1 John 4:18, “Fear involves torment.”

The original Greek says, “Fear has to do with punishment.”When a person is filled with fear, the temptation is not only to punish others, but themselves as well.

Harry S. Truman said, “The worst danger we face is the danger of being paralyzed by doubts and fears. This danger is brought on by those who abandon faith and sneer at hope.”

A woman named Marjorie Goff, shut her apartment door in 1949.

Then, over the next thirty years, she emerged only three times: once for an operation, once to visit her family, and once to buy ice cream for a dying friend.

Marjorie suffered from agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces, and the saddest thing is she robbed herself of a most pleasurable experience: an outdoor walk!

“Fear is a dark room where the devil takes you to develop your negatives.”

David Arnold
Gulf Coast Worship Center

© 2013 Rev. David Arnold Ministries, All rights reserved.