When I was a child, I was afraid of the dark. It may seem like a cliché, but I believed in monsters. My mother understood this and let me sleep with a night light. We lived in the country where there were no street lights and I wouldn’t go outside at night alone. Even when I was grown up, I used to get a little a shiver when I walked out into a dark night. But I’ve come to appreciate the dark. Now that I struggle with age-related insomnia, I need total darkness to sleep. I like the dark.
Spiritual darkness can seem ambiguous too. It’s scary, but there are things about it that are attractive. People who live in the darkness, like it. They like doing evil and they love the darkness that hides their deeds. That’s why they stay away from the light.
It makes me wonder; what kind of twisted person likes doing evil? I picture a large, ugly man with a leer on his face, as he points a gun at a defenseless victim. I’ve seen him in movies and read about him in murder mysteries, and he may even exist in real life. But he’s not the only one who loves the darkness.
In Romans 13:13, Paul warns about some things that go on in the dark - wild parties and drunkenness, sexual promiscuity and immoral living, quarreling and jealousy. Once again, movies and TV provide mental images. I don’t watch night time soap operas, but I’m sure all of these things are done in a single episode. I do see them in the context of the police dramas I do like to watch. And I’m sure they happen in real life.
But if I remove the labels of evil and darkness, this list suddenly looks a little more familiar. I remember college dances I chaperoned where the students drank so much, fights broke out and EMTs had to deal with alcohol poisoning. I know plenty of people who live together without bothering with marriage, who move from partner to partner fairly frequently. It causes quarreling and jealousy. But the people involved in this lifestyle don’t see it as sinful or evil. They just see it as life and they’re just trying to be happy. They aren’t interested in hearing that God doesn’t approve of how they’re living. They don’t want the light to show that their deeds are evil.
Darkness doesn’t just hide what we consider “big” sins. All sin is evil and Jesus came to expose it all in His light. Once it’s been exposed, the sinner can repent and come to the light. Then they can be examples to others of what God wants.
I am blessed that God shone His light on me. My responsibility is to walk in the light and show those that are in darkness that there is a better way. According to Jesus, I too am a light. My prayer is that my light will “shine before men, that they may see [my] good works, and glorify [my] Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 KJV)