The darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
9-11. The Virginia Tech killer. Sandy Hook. Isis. These are a few more recent examples I can think of where evil stood up straight and marched forward, arms outstretched, not caring who fell in his wake. In the more distant past we have the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and the terror regime of Joseph Kony in Uganda in which children were kidnapped and forced to become cold-blooded killers and mutilators of innocent countrymen.
Some of the terror we could not have seen coming and the fault lies solely on the madmen who carried it out. Other examples, for instance: starvation in African countries, the AIDS epidemic, slavery, sex trafficking, child abuse, spousal abuse, and abortion are evils that we as a society have a moral and social responsibility to fight.
On a more individual basis, evil can take the form of lying, cheating, emotional abuse, addiction, pornography, hatred, gossip, and bullying. These are qualities that you probably don’t want in a friend, yet may struggle with yourself.
We all want to think that we are the “good guy”, but if we all think that then how can there be so much darkness, every day, all around the globe? Something is really, really wrong, and it starts with us as individuals.
I came across a passage in 1 John (1 and 2) yesterday. John starts out by saying that he speaks with the surety of someone who had touched Jesus with his own hands, and seen the proof of the resurrection personally. He was saying, “This is real. This is trustworthy.” He goes on to talk about “walking in the light”:
“God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” (1:5)
“Yet I am writing you a new command; it’s truth is seen in him and you, because darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. ” (2:8-9)
Darkness can be pervasive, but in the pitch black of night, even a small light can be seen, even from far away. If we, as God’s people, would be that light in a dark world, we have the power to push back the darkness. It starts with you. It starts with me. If we love Jesus, that light is already inside us. We just have to get the lampshades off of our heads and get out there.
What does that look like? It’s different for everyone, but the same basic tenets apply in each situation. Be like Jesus. Serve people who can give you nothing in return. If you see someone in need, do something about it. Have compassion. Be trustworthy. Care for person in front of you the way you want to be cared for. Forgive. Be obedient to the Lord so that you don’t end up hurt and/or looking like a hypocrite. Love God above all others and above all things. Be thankful for what you have. Pray. Ask God for more faith every day. Be joyful.
By being faithful to live a life that brings Jesus’ light into the dark places, who knows how the course of history could be altered? I know my life has been changed forever, and I would never, ever choose the darkness I left behind, now that I know how good the Light is.
The ultimate darkness is death. For those who love Jesus, that particular darkness can’t touch us. But it will touch the billions of people around us unless we let them see that darkness disappears when light enters in.
Light allows us to see the world around us in full color. It helps us to see where we are going. It warms us.
Let there be light 🙂
Photo Credit: Justin Lange