Les Miserables: What We Should Fear

“We must never fear robbers or murderers. They are dangers from outside, small dangers. It is ourselves we have to fear. Prejudice is the real robber, and vice the real murderer. Why should we be troubled by a threat to our person or our pocket? What we have to beware of is the threat to our souls.”

p. 42

M. Myriel takes Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:28 and makes them personal. And he assigns the power, not to God but to ourselves. In one sense, he’s right. While God destroys both soul and body, our sin—our vice and prejudice—sets us on the road that will lead to the soul’s destruction without intervention of the blood of Jesus. 

But we are so fearful for our things, for our blood. Few of us say with Paul, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” We fear the “out there”—that vague threat. When all the time, the enemy is at hand, already in the gate, already sitting down to dine with us. Will we guard our hearts with the same diligence with which we guard our stuff? 

Having no fear left, M. Myriel is able to trust God and give feely. His life is in God’s hands, not his own. 

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