Jeremiah 1:8 NKJV Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,” says the LORD.
Jeremiah 1:8 BBE Have no fear because of them: for I am with you, to keep you safe, says the Lord.
Physiognomophobia is the fear of faces. Some call it the fear of scary faces but it really could just be the fear of faces in general. This should not be confused with the fear of Facebook which, although it does not have a scientific name, is gain much discussion ground on Psychology sites that discuss Social Anxiety Disorders and other Social Phobias.
The point is God doesn’t want you to fear people, especially when they frown, smirk, shake their heads, roll their eyes, etc… at you for saying or doing what is right or sharing your faith in Christ. Jeremiah was being called by God to be a mouthpiece of the Lord and declare His Word to Israel and to surrounding kingdoms. Jeremiah was afraid of how people would receive these messages through him because he was still a teenager and God knew that many wouldn’t to hear and would reject His Word no matter who He sent.
I remember early on in ministry when I’d minister somewhere. As I’d be preaching and teaching, often fumbling my words out of nerves and lacking conviction in making many points unsure and concerned how they would be received, I’d be moved by the grim faces on the congregation as some shook their heads, expressed boredom with their silent exhaling grunts and crossed arms, the constant glances to the clock or their watches to check the time (I’ve developed a lot of sympathy for my school teachers remembering how I’d disinterestedly watch the second hand tick instead of paying attention), and even heard the audible yet muffled expressions of disagreement with what I said. It bothered me, impacted the delivery of the message, and sometimes I allowed it to keep me from saying or doing what the Lord put in my heart. I succumbed to the fear of their faces.
How about this? Have you ever need to have a conversation with somebody that you strongly felt they really didn’t want to hear and would make them mad? When you do speak to them often the hardest part is to look them in the eye when you tell them what they don’t want to hear. Why? It’s because you’re afraid of their face. You don’t want to see the anger, disgust, disagreement, etc… in their facial expressions. God knew that Jeremiah was going to have to say some things that would make a lot of people extremely angry and even want to harm him. His response to Jeremiah is, Don’t be afraid of their faces, I am with you and I’ll keep you safe.
He did it for Jeremiah and He’ll do it for you. Don’t fear their faces. Do what is right despite how others may react. Thankfully, I’m not nearly as bothered by those things as I once was. I’m also grateful that I’ve gotten ‘better’ at ministering in public and though I don’t like them I’ve gotten much better at having difficult conversations (there is something very wrong if you do like them). Once you realize God is with you and will keep you and protect you, even if you do flub your words or say something the wrong way, there is nothing to fear. Like Jeremiah, God’s called you to great things. Pursue them with boldness and don’t be afraid of the faces people will make; God is with you and He’ll keep you safe.