Grace in a Dark Place, Part 3

Yesterday I shared some thoughts on what it means to be children of the light. Today I want to think about a second question: What effect does being children of the light have on those around us? I have been learning that its effect is threefold:

  1. It identifies us as God’s children. Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV) You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

    John 3:21 (NIV) But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

    Living as children of the light identifies us as belonging to God and living in His power. Why? Because the way Christians live, relate, and respond to suffering is so obviously different from…well…from the “norm.” Take forgiveness for example. When we are hurt or offended what comes naturally is holding a grudge, getting revenge, ending relationships. Those just come naturally to us. It’s our nature. We don’t need taught to do those things. It is who we are. Forgiveness is not natural. In fact it is supernatural. That’s why it stands out when you see it. When a candle is lit in a dark room, your eyes are drawn to it. In a similar way, when we are living as children of the light, eyes are drawn to us.

  2. It helps people see that they need that light. Ephesians 5:13-14 (NIV) But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

    When we are living as children of the light, God uses our life to wake people up to their need of a savior. All of us have done things that leave us struggling with guilt. All of us have gone through experiences that have brought us to the end of ourselves, or even left us feeling broken. When we see people who have been freed from their guilt and shame it awakens us to our own need for a savior. It makes us aware of our own guilt and shame. We realize that we cannot get rid of them ourselves. We need a savior who can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

  3. It motivates us to love one another. 1 John 2:9-11 (NIV) Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

    It is the nature of light to both shine forth and radiate warmth. When we live as children of the light we share God’s love with the people around us. His love not only brings light to dark places, but brings warmth as well. It is amazing how situations change, people change, and attitudes change when God’s love is shining through our words and actions. As it is the nature of light to shine forth and give heat, when we are living as children of the light we will start to think less about ourselves and start thinking more about the needs of others. We will be moved to give the warmth of mercy instead of criticism, forgiveness instead of judgment, empathy instead of a cold shoulder, words of encouragement instead of discouragement.

When we are living as children of the light, things around us do not stay the same. Things hidden become clear. Darkness dissipates. Hurts begin to heal. Anger fades. And joy comes to places you never thought possible.

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