In a World Full of Hate be a Light

Whether it is the song, “Be A Light” by Thomas Rhett or the quote from Martin Luther King, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” the message is the same. We need to uplift others amid all the world’s negativity and sadness. We must be a light of encouragement, working to dispel darkness by adding our light.

The light we shine need not engulf the whole world. We should focus on what is in front of us, at this moment. As E.L. Doctorow said, “In driving through the night, you never see further than your headlight beam, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Our light should be contagious. Every one of us can shine a light. If I have a flashlight in a dark room, the darkness is my fault. Instead of being impressed by talent and prestige, we should be impressed by how radiant others shine their light.

There is no room in our world for hate. Hate is a cowardly justification for the weakness of self. The more we focus on who and Whose we are, the less we need to assign any energy to who someone else might be. Even those we have intense negative feelings about. We must respect ourselves and hold ourselves accountable to the standard. We have little influence on what is happening in the world or even the political stage. But we are directly responsible for the way we talk about issues and to each other. We can’t control all the circumstances we face, but we can control the light we put forth.

My favorite song on this subject is the Collective Soul 1993 song, Shine. Collective Soul was sometimes regarded as a Christian band. To not be restricted by the label of Gospel or Christian genres, band founder, Ed Rowland always pointed out the universality of words and lyrics. No doubt his religious upbringing and the fact that his father is a Southern Baptist minister, had a profound impact on him. The song, ‘Shine,’ is about finding guidance, looking for love in the world, and finding Heaven’s light shining down – “Give me a word/Give me a sign/Show me where to look/Tell me what will I find.”

Christians are called to show a different path and a better way. Jesus told His followers that we are to be a light to those around us. Early Christians took our Lord’s example to heart and changed the world as a result. Frederick Buechner said: “If we want to be holy, be kind.” I will add if we want to be kind, shine the light we have been given. We can share our light – a candle loses none of its light by lighting another candle. It is also self-enriching to share our light as James Barrie said, “Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.” –

In my blog on Candlemas Day, I reference the inner light of Christ, which He brought to share with the world, is represented by candles. As proclaimed by Sophronius, a Patriarch of Jerusalem: “Our bright shining candles are a sign of divine splendor of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of His eternal light. Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.”

In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul makes a general plea for unity in the church (4:1–2), “I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love,” But Christian unity is more than adherence to a common belief. It is shown in the application of Christ’s gifts and light by individuals. We must serve the community to move His kingdom forward. Praying for others is good. However, we must put actions in support of our prayers and reflect the loving light of God. Today, more than ever, we need to demonstrate there is light even in the darkest times. We are the light of the world that should not be hidden under a bushel (Matthew 5:14-16).

The beginning of John’s Gospel (1:4-9), affirms Jesus is the light and truth: “through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”

As Christians we are not simply to “pray, pay, and obey” but rather to carry the light of Christ into the ordinary circumstances of our lives. We become holy by the holiness we bring into the world, through our light, and sharing our light. Being a light is one of the most significant things we can do as Christians. It is an assignment we have been given by our Lord.

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