Galatians 2:12 NLT When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision.
Although you’ve probably never heard of enosiophobia before, you’ve most likely experience it to some degree multiple times in life. Enosiophobia is the fear of criticism. It is also a term used to define the fear of having committed the unpardonable sin, but we’re not going to touch one at least not today.
Here in Galatians chapter 2, Paul wrote that Peter fell prey to the fear of being criticized by Jewish Christians for eating with Gentile Christians. This also means that he wasn’t enjoying any carnitas or BLT sandwiched either. Paul wrote that even Barnabas gave way to the pressure and succumbed to this fear. Paul was probably shocked that Peter, the Apostle who was convinced that the wall of separation between the Jew & Gentile had been torn down saying, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” after the Lord gave spoke to him in a vision 3 times and then he witnessed Cornelius and his household be baptized in the Holy Spirit speaking in tongues and magnifying God (Acts 10:1-23, 46-47). He was undoubtedly further shocked that Barnabas, who he had previously traveled with to many Gentile nations proclaiming the Gospel of Christ and seeing thousands of gentiles saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. This is what fear will do. Fear will drive you act in ways you wouldn’t normally and do things you don’t believe is right.
The fear of criticism has a horrible effect on the lives of believers. It causes us to not be “straightforward about the truth of the Gospel” (Galatians 2:14). We must guard against it.
Nobody enjoys being criticized. It’s not fun. But the fear of criticism will try to keep you from speaking up regarding the truth & pressure you to avoid taking action and do the right thing in the face of opposition at work, at home, or in the supermarket. Like Peter, Barnabas and those with them, it will cause you to violate your conscience and be carried away with hypocrisy. So what can we do?
Paul gave us some good things to remember that will insulate us against enosiophobia and empower us to be courageous in the face of this fear. He told us to remember, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” In essence he told us instead of fearing what others will say about you; Remember who you are, remember whose you are, & remember the price that was paid.