THE TAKE AWAY
Truth and the Light that brings Life
By Kersley Fitzgerald
The Bible talks about light exposing the sins done in darkness. About how people who do not want their dark deeds exposed are said to love darkness (John 3:19-20). One day, light will expose their dark deeds (Luke 12:2-3). And with that light will come truth and repentance (Acts 13:47).
Many dark things have come to light recently. Take the Ashley Madison debacle. Thousands and thousands of names of men and women who were seeking extra-marital affairs can be yours for the low price of sufficient bandwidth. The more famous names will come out, anyway. But what will be the result of these sins being brought to light? Truth and repentance? Or brokenness and, slowly, acceptance of the sins the leak reveals?
I don't think the Ashley Madison user list exposure is going to result in a cultural shift away from infidelity and toward healthier marriages. I don't think the hook-up culture has the appropriate foundation to continue believing casual sex before marriage is fine, but once married, it's taboo. I think it will degrade the concept of marriage even further than other recent attacks, until marriage is reduced to a convenient way to get financial benefits.
But why? Isn't light is supposed to bring truth and healing and conviction and repentance?
The difference is in the type of light. This is a dark light, if you will, giving facts without spiritual context. And too many facts that are confined to a materialistic worldview start to shape that world without being checked by spiritual truth. What is brought to our attention is accepted as what is, and what is becomes inexorably accepted as what our culture is. Sometimes intentionally, such as the acceptance of homosexuality; sometimes for the better, as in the Civil Rights Movement; and sometimes without anyone realizing, like Google's search algorithm inadvertently shaping how we see the world.
Exposure to truth without spiritual context is a product of light, but not a beneficent light — "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14). There is much harm that results, for both individuals and cultures, when dark deeds are brought to light without giving God the chance to interpret what just happened.
John 1 clearly explains the light that we need:
In [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it...The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. John 1:4-5, 9Without the light that brings life, "light" merely becomes a spotlight that showcases darkness — a darkness of morality instead of secrecy. Once the secrecy is taken away, the darkness is eventually celebrated and better able to influence the culture around it.
Only in Jesus is there light that brings life instead of destruction. Only in Him is revealed sin able to stumble out of darkness and into repentance and reconciliation.
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. John 12:46A story:
Once upon a time, there was a small air force station in the Outback of Australia. It was manned by a combination of Australian and American military members, some with families. An American enlisted family got stationed there, and was horrified to discover the rampant adultery and hook-up scene that saturated the base. They were ready to lock their doors and close their shutters and never venture out. But God told them that was the opposite of what He'd planned for them. He told them to start a small group that taught biblical marriage principles.
When I was in the Air Force, I heard about this base and the incredibly destructive culture. Several years later, I met a couple who had been there when the base shut down. They said it was the best assignment of their career — a great place for families.
A couple of years after that, I met the couple who had started the Bible study. They had no idea their obedience had so completely changed the culture of the base. They still looked at the assignment as incredibly difficult.
Jesus is the light that brings life. He tells us, "Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light" (John 12:35a). He calls us the light of the world and tells us not to hide (Matthew 5:14-15). Too many, whose sin is exposed, will use that light as a spotlight while they are really living in darkness — "and how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:23). We are called to do the opposite, "to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in [Christ]" (Acts 26:18).
We need to consider this as we discuss the sins brought to light in whatever arena of life. Politicians, celebrities, friends, family, co-workers; what kind of light are we? How can we bring life as well as light to a sin-darkened world?
Image Credit: Pezibear; untitled; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Current-Issues | Sin-Evil
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