Matthew 5:14-16 NLT
You are the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Have you ever wondered why so many who “live in the dark” don’t want the light?
I have. And I think there are a couple of reasons that this is the case:
They have become so used to being in the dark that their eyes have accepted the dark as reality. They’ve grown comfortable in the dark. Perhaps they can even see a little bit. But not very well, at least well enough to see a large object directly in front of them, but not nearly enough to see the pitfalls and snares that are under their feet and all around them.
Because they have grown accustomed to the dark, the light hurts their eyes (feelings) when it comes into their space, and therefore they reject the light because it causes them pain. Think about waking up in the middle of the night and you immediately turn on the light. You shrink back from the light, and probably in many cases turn the light back off.
What they don’t realize or understand is that the pain is only temporary. And once their eyes have grown accustomed to the light, then they will see how the light saves their life as it exposes to them the pitfalls and snares under their feet and helps them to actually avoid falling into these traps.
Ever noticed how the bulk of criminal activity takes place at night concealed in the dark? The same goes for people living in the dark (sin). They reject the light because they know the light will expose the things they have been hiding. They would rather remain in the light because in their mind it’s less painful to have their sin exposed and for them to be found out for exactly who they are.
What they don’t realize is that while yes, the light exposes the deep dark sins and secrets of our hearts, but it also brings relief from our sin. Think about the last time you held on to a secret or decided to keep lying to keep covering something up so the truth wouldn’t be found out. Even though it was painful to be found out, wasn’t there a sense of relief from the stress of holding all of that it and finally having the truth exposed?
It wasn’t fun…but it was necessary. And it brought relief from the burden.
Did Jesus not say to us:
Matthew 11:29-30 NLT
Take my yoke (burden) upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke (burden) is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
Church, let me ask you this…do we then just not share the light, and rather hide it under a basket (Matthew 5) simply because it may hurt someone’s feelings or it may cause someone temporary pain?
By no means!
We as Christians know that while there may be pain, that the eternal ramifications of having the light come into the darkness will far outweigh that pain.
We’ve experienced it ourselves.
We don’t hide the light because we know the light sets people free.
So why then, Church, do so many in the American and European church discourage other Christians from shining their light brightly when they know the freedom that comes from the exposure of the light?
The moment they see people like me shine our light brightly, and the moment it begins to hurt the eyes (feelings) of someone that we are shining the light in front of we are instantly accused of being harsh, judgmental, unloving, un-Christlike, and all a whole slew of other terms.
If I didn’t know better, I would say these Christians were trying to encourage us to hide our light under a basket so as not to offend anyone.
I’m sorry, that’s not going to happen. That’s not what Jesus commanded. I have the light in me. The light that sets people free. Yes, it will hurt feelings. Yes, it will cause temporal pain.
But in the end, PEOPLE ARE SET FREE BY THE TRUTH!
If you as a believer were set free by the truth, why then do you encourage others to hide the freedom light from others? Why do you discourage us from doing what Jesus commanded?
I for one choose to be a city on a hill!
I for one choose to shine my light brightly!
I for one will not allow the possibility of pain (that is only temporal) dissuade me from exposing people to the light (truth) that will set their souls free!
If you are too much of a coward to do the same, that’s fine.
But my one request will be this: do not come around believers like me who aren’t afraid to shine the light into the darkest of places and accuse us of bigotry, hatred, unloving behavior, and whatever else comes out of your mouth.
You need to understand that your cowardice and shame of the gospel will not persuade people who are unashamed of the gospel to be quiet.
I don’t say this to be mean to you. Or to be heartless to you. But the reality of it is you are ashamed of the gospel and a coward before men. I will pray for you, and will do all that I can to help build up your courage. But I grow tired of your cowardice and shame being passed off on believers like me as an attempt to call us back to be more loving and Christlike when in reality is a ruse to cover up your shame and cowardice of the gospel and of Christ.
Trust me, my words are less painful than what Jesus had to say about people who are ashamed of Him and his words:
Luke 9:26 ESV
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man (Jesus) be ashamed when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
I for one choose to be a city on a hill and to shine brightly “this little light of mine” for all to see.
I hope you will too.
I hope you will set aside your cowardice and shame, and pick up your light and hold it out brightly and without shame.
You have the truth in you that will set the souls of men free.
That isn’t something to be ashamed of!