Sounds so noble. So valiant.
Coming from Jesus, it can't be anything less.
But what happens when the darkness bites back? Why do we expect the world to "ooh" and "ahh" at us when we perceive ourselves to be shining examples of Christ's love? The darkness doesn't like to be chased away, after all. Much of the darkness doesn't even really like to be exposed as darkness. Why do we deceive ourselves that shining our light won't burn us in pain?
But what's baffling me is how light fights light. How is this possible? If I am certain the Holy Spirit has set me on a particular hill and I'm shining all the light He can through me, and another believer on the opposite hill is trusting the in the same thing but his/her light totally contradicts mine… what are we left with?
Fireworks when the lights clash and collide in the night?
I've said it before and I'll say it again: schisms in the Body more often than not happen because of "right versus right", rather than "right versus wrong", although we desperately want to believe the other church member or denomination affiliate is totally in the WRONG. It justifies our beliefs and values.
When so many people are pursuing righteousness — truly in the Spirit of love and compassion — how is it that we end up burning each other to ashes? We are so many of us doused?
Doused… sometimes we put each other's lights out with water, leaving barely a whiff of smoke of what once was a vibrant life. Other times, we use gasoline and the light we oppose flares up into the darkness with a foul stench and anger beyond righteous justice.
We don't all have to think the same, believe the same, or walk the same.
But why do we insist on the certain destruction of the light of others? Is it a need for people to see things our way and agree with us? Is it fear? Is it territorial reflex?
We are the light of the world, as Jesus is the Light. We need to remember we are not shining our own light. Perhaps that's a starting point: by taking wrongful ownership of the Light we're shining, the light ceases to be a beacon of hope and salvation, and rather becomes a burning siren luring people to sharp rocks and their doom. Oh God, may it never be!
Alas, but it be…
This Light, this Pyre of the Almighty IS the Almighty. We have no ownership here. We are vessels — lamps — through which Jesus pierces the sin, hopelessness, despair, evil, and anger in this world. It was not, is not, and never will be ours to claim. And since there is but One Light, we need to lay aside our claims to who's shining brighter or who is shining wrongly.
Far easier said than done.
God… shine all the Light You desire through me. And when I perceive from afar more of Your Light piercing the night from another of your children, may I embrace it, magnify it, and be grateful for it.