My Broken Road to Grace: Post Eleven (Are you hiding your light?)
Is your light being hidden or ignored?
John F. Kennedy once quoted Peter Benenson, the founder of amnesty international saying "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." At first glance that seems to be a fairly simple and straightforward statement and yet the more I read it and give serious thought to what it really means the more profound and revealing it becomes to me.
At the outset, one would certainly think that any of us who had all our wits about us, would prefer to light a candle or in the modern day vernacular, flip a light switch as opposed to stumbling around, lost and confused, unable to clearly distinguish any one thing from another in total darkness. Darkness is after all often the metaphorical reference to evil whereas light conversely is that of good. Who of us then would deliberately choose evil and it's inevitable association with darkness and all that goes with it (confusion, derision, sadness, anger and hurt) over light and what accompanies it (clarity, decisiveness, happiness and comfort)?
The obvious answer to that question would be no one and yet there are those, day in and day out who do just that. Why then with the choice between good and evil, light and darkness so clearly obvious would that be? What would contribute to the overall circumstance of life, the day to day living of it, our existence as members of the human race that would lead us toward that choice. I believe that the answer while cloaked in confusing nuances and camouflaged both beautifully and brilliantly by Satan, becomes clearly apparent as we study the scriptures.
The Bible says that evil men lurk in darkness, again a fairly obvious and understandable statement. Therein lies the answer to the previously posed question The premise makes total sense, an evil man would prefer darkness over light and therefore chooses to live in darkness while all along encouraging those around him to do so. In other words, recruiting those who are walking along the edge of the precipice to come and join him thereby increasing the strength and power of evil forces everyday. Make no mistake, this is exactly what happens and with regularity and yet we as Christians, all to often tend to simply stand by and do nothing.
This of course brings to light the obvious question and that is simply why? I believe that in today's society there are several reasons. First, we have been lulled into thinking that it isn't really that bad. Our television shows, movies, books and video games are filled with the most vile and horrible scenarios that one could imagine and yet everyday, children, teenagers and young adults spend hours and hours engaging in those activities. How does this have an effect or even really matter you ask? Some years ago, I had a friend who worked as an EMT and one day I asked him "Jeff, how do you deal with all the terrible things you see day in and day out, people hurt, mangled, stabbed and shot, etc. I believe it would drive me crazy and I would find it hard to leave it at work." I will never forget his answer "It did really bother me at first, in fact at one time I began to wonder if I could do it long term, but then as I continued and saw more and more of the horror, I reached a point where I felt as if there was pretty much nothing that I hadn't seen and honestly, it just got easier from there." You see as humans we do have the capacity to become anesthetized to that which we at one point found disturbing. Satan exploits that ability and everyday that which was once considered horrible and unacceptable now suddenly becomes "old hat" and OK.
Secondly, we choose to rely on others to take up the fight that we ourselves should be involved in. How many times have you seen or heard a story about an effort to clean up a bad neighborhood, help battered women and children, educate teens on the value of human life or inform children about the dangers associated with drug use and thought to yourself "now that is a good thing, I'd like to help in that effort" and then let the thought quickly and quietly slip away without ever acting upon it? It has been said that evil prevails when good men stand by and do nothing and that has never been more true than as it pertains to many of us today and the exhibition of our Christian faith.
What then are we to do about it? How do we stop it? How do we turn the swelling tides to once again flow in our direction? Again, I believe that the answer is simple yet profound. We act, we flip the switch, we light the candle. We as individuals and as a group stop simply standing by and begin to once again take action.
Matthew 5:14-16 says: "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." By letting our lights once again shine, they will not only illuminate our lives giving us freedom from the darkness and helping us to see more clearly that which we should do but that light will also fall at least partially on others around us illuminating their way and perhaps, just perhaps giving them enough to guide their way out of a life of sin and despair.
My friends, we have a decision to make and it is a crucial one, either set our light on a hill for all the world to see and in doing so begin to effect change. Or, remain in darkness, succumb to the evil around us and do nothing and we all know exactly what the result of that will be.