Darkness makes things difficult to find because it’s easy to hide. And it’s amazing to me what a difference a single candle can make in a dark room. You only need a little light to chase away a whole roomful of darkness.
In the Bible, light is often used synonymously with truth. That’s because truth works the same way that light does. You only need a tiny morsel of truth to disprove an entire mountain of lies. And just like lies are used to conceal things, truth is the great revealer, shining light on every topic so the whole surface is exposed and everyone can see it for what it is.
But just like light, truth makes people uncomfortable.
Today’s verses are John 3:20-21.
20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”
People who do wrong (and know they’ve done wrong) don’t like to be around people who do the right thing because they feel guilty. Granted, some people (Christians, mostly) are really good about putting guilt trips on other people purposefully, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Putting someone on a guilt trip is completely different from making someone uncomfortable without realizing it. This is something that happens even in Christian circles.
I’ve been in situations with other Christians when I have made them uncomfortable because I always did the right thing — even when doing the wrong thing was more popular and easier. And even though we were all believers, I was still treated harshly because my doing the right thing made them feel guilty — because they knew better.
It’s really hard to see in the dark. And the dark easy because you don’t have to do anything to help it along. Darkness has been around a lot longer than light. Light was created; Darkness was just here. Light has to have a source. It has to come from somewhere. And if you don’t have the strength of character or conviction to create light, bumping along in the dark is a lot easier and a lot less painful than burning your fingers with a match.
But believers aren’t called to live in darkness. We are children of light. Why are we given truth if all we’re going to do is hide it? Why do we know what’s right if all we’re going to do is wrong?
That’s where the second verse comes in. People who do the right thing love light and they love truth, not because it gives them an opportunity to show off but because it allows them to explain why they do what they do. Another translation restates the end of verse 21 to be that others “can see God at work at what He’s doing.”
Those of you who live in the light, don’t be surprised when people who know better speak ill of you or mistreat you. You make them uncomfortable. Even if you don’t mean to, you do. Because the light of Christ in your life, shines so brightly that people will fear to have the things they’ve done wrong brought out into the open. That is why, as a Christian, we have to be real. We have to love people and we have to be genuine. People who don’t believe have to know that we’re not perfect and that the light in us isn’t us–it’s God. People need to know that we have just as much darkness in us as they do. The only difference is that God’s light is stronger than any darkness.
And just like a single candle can light up an entire house, a single believer in a workplace full of people who don’t believe can shine. The thing about darkness is that even though it’s everywhere, it doesn’t take much to force it back. And it tends to bring out the light in people who have it. After all, the darker it gets, the more stars you can see.