How Do I Help Someone with Irrational Fears?

There Are No Irrational Fears

Everybody faces fear. What fears are rational, though, and which ones aren’t? Dr. Ed Welch, counselor, and faculty member at Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF), talks about fear and encourages people to turn to Jesus when they’re afraid. 

Ed Welch has been counseling for over 30 years and has written extensively on the topics of depression, fear, and addictions. He is the author of When People Are Big and God is Small, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Blame it on the Brain, Depression—A Stubborn Darkness, and When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety. 

Ed said he thinks that all fears are rational. Fears make sense to him because, essentially, our world is broken. Things go wrong, relationships fall apart, etc. So instead of asking how we can help people through irrational fears, the better question is, “Where will you turn when you’re afraid?” 

Do you think there are fears that are irrational? If so, what might some of them be? Why do you say they’re irrational?
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Ed said that the goal for Christians when confronting fear is to turn to Jesus in the midst of it rather than try to extinguish your fear. 

Share a time when you were particularly afraid of something or someone. How did you deal with your fear? Do you think you dealt with your fear in a healthy or unhealthy way? Why do you say that?
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What does turning to Jesus look like in your life when you’re afraid? What kinds of things do you do to help you?
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Can you think of someone in your life who you know is afraid of something? If so, who is it? Which of the things you just mentioned do you think you could recommend they try?
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Ed talked about progressive sanctification and its role in dealing with fear. He said that we as human beings grow slowly, sometimes more slowly than we’d like. So while we may want to abolish all fear immediately, the more likely reality is that slowly, step by step, we will be able to be less fearful and more trusting in the Lord.  

What comfort does the notion of “progressive sanctification” bring you as you deal with your own fears?
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Ed said that progressive sanctification requires that we be with others for the long haul as they suffer, fear, or go through hard times. As you think about helping others through fear, how can you assure people you will be with them for the long haul?
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Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV)

My Help Comes from the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

1I lift up my eyes to the hills.

From where does my help come?

2 My help comes from the Lord,

who made heaven and earth.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Fear doesn’t disappear overnight, if ever. Christians are wise not to try to will it away or pretend it isn’t there. Instead, turn to the Lord when you’re afraid and encourage others to do the same. Also, pray for patience to endure the struggle and help others who are afraid. Take courage—the Lord is with you!  

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