The Bible says there is only One Person we need to fear. If we feared Him, we would not be afraid of anyone else, nor what they could do to us. I think I have had this backwards all of my life. Instead of what the Proverb writer wrote in Proverbs 1:7:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
I have feared man, their opinions, their reactions. And I have wrestled with this weakness:
Pro 29:25 The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.
Jesus had some strong words about fearing the Lord:
Mat 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Now that is Someone to fear. Only God has the ability to do that. Men can slander you, torture you, imprison you, even kill you, but they cannot separate you from God forever if you have rejected His Son.
What do we have to fear from man if we are Christians? They could take us away to prison, but that will not separate us from Christ's love. No, not according to my Bible in Romans 8:35-39. They can kill us, but according to II Corinthians 15:54-57, Christ has taken the sting of death away. They can condemn us, but there is no condemnation according to those who are in Christ Jesus in Romans 8:1. They could accuse us of all our past sins, but those have been buried in the depths of the sea in Micah 7:19.
So then, why should I be afraid of men? Men's opinions change from minute to minute anyway. They may like you one day and despise you the next. But God remains the same forever, as He tells in Malachi 3:6. He created you, He delights in you. He is the One Constant in this rapidly changing universe. Everything that appeared permanent in my life has come to pass, as the Preacher shares in Ecclesiastes. That book used to make me sad, but now gives me cause to rejoice. Because something far, far greater is waiting for us one day, when God calls us Home.
The trap for me has been people pleasing. When you people please, you aren't happy, because you are enslaved to what other people think of you.
Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psa 141:4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice wicked works With men who work iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies.