Come to the light with care

To forgive releases the festering of anger. Like blowing the seeds from a dandelion puff. Anger scatters we know not where. We are at peace.

What about the forgiven? Are they trivialised by our forgiveness? Their passion in whatever took place – treated like a dandelion puff – of no significance?

To confess releases the angst of wrong doing. Like blowing the seeds from …

What about the confessed-to? Aren’t they simply the recipient of our dumping? Their happy life brought to a stop by our confession and contrition? A bit like the sacrificial animal – our confession and pain passes from us to them? They hurt, we don’t.

I had occasion some time ago to hear confession. The confessor was adamant that having released the secret to me so long held back, they would immediately find the person they had “wronged” and confess. Beg their forgiveness. Clear the air. Set things straight. Start again.

My cautious observation was that the wronged party was ignorant of any wrong-doing. My question was simply to ask – who would benefit from this intended “setting things straight”?

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God. John 3:16-21

These verses are well known. Greatly loved. For God so loved the world … The rallying cry of the True Believer. We are The Light. We do not hide our light. We abhor the darkness. We do what is true. We are saved.

And then it gets messy. And judgemental. And personal.

Just like the scenario above. Come to the light may mean sending someone else to the darkness. Sometimes the light is a pedestal, beautifully lit, ever so forgiving, with room for just one. Sometimes we rush to the light and do not realise we are shoving another out of the way in our haste.

God is eternal. God’s love is more pure than we can imagine … Human love ain’t in the same league. Human love is speckled with all sorts of imperfections. Human love is fragile compared to God Love. I have children, sons and daughters. And my love is human. I would not offer any one of them to save you or me.

I read these words from John and ponder. That this “being saved” malarkey … This “being condemned” stuff … These phrases really should come with a health warning. That for the health of others we ought to nurture this gift thoughtfully. That we guard this gift and learn it’s power lovingly. That – for the love of God of all – we come to the light with care.

My forgiveness, my confession, my feeling good about me and God … just who might I be trampling on without knowing? What other saved souls might I be causing pain?

There is a song “Don’t worry – be happy.” I used to sing along. The lyrics uplifting. The song a rallying cry for us optimists. Until one day I heard within the song … “Don’t bring everyone down”

Don’t bring everyone down? That is a reason for happiness? Be happy so that you don’t bring “us” down? Those four words tore me up inside. And I have never been able to listen to that song again.

Every rallying cry … always pushes someone into the darkness.

“The light has come into the world”

How many will you trample on today being so filled with light it blinds you? Who might be shoved into the darkness by my urgent joy of being saved?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” How about you. Would you give your only child for me?

Thought not. Me neither.

And would you notice if you shoved me aside? In your joy of being saved. Would you?

Me neither. Not all the time. Not if I am honest.


15 thoughts on “Come to the light with care

  1. This is sooooo good. Would you mind if I reblogged this post later in the week?
    I have really been moved this week to implore my fellow believers to look at themselves.Hard.

    I’ve been looking in my own mirror and striving to make some changes. If “Christians” would reevaluate this US and THEM mentality, I think we could more effectively allow God’s light to shine through us and actually demonstrate God’s love. Instead, I find many believers often blinding people with a harsh glare of personal opinion that often obscures God’s love and potrays Christians are crazy.

  2. Paul,

    God bless you – I like the route you took here! Your post has me envisioning what it was like to encounter the flesh and blood presence of Jesus Christ and more importantly how we can enbody that today. I stress Christlikeness in my life everyday – that is what I strive for! Even with the all-powerful help of His Spirit, I rarely hit the mark. It is hard work staying in loving, positive, encouraging fellowship with people. It is hard work to show the world Jesus when we’re imperfect and messy.

    Lord, help us to be more like You, let us enbody love. When the world looks at us let them see only You. Convict our hearts that we may cast aside all things not of You. Give us the strength and will do follow through on this all the days of our lives, in Your Blessed and Holy name I pray.

    Jennifer – I Give God All The Glory

    • Jennifer, thank you! I was in fellowship with another some time ago. They had a few minutes before an appointment with a family suffereing terrible emotional trauma. My unpsoken question was why we were talking right then. The spoken answer was very humbling:

      Imagine a brain surgeon – fully trained for delicate brain surgey – yet never able to be trained enough. Imagine that surgeon trusting enough in the lord to “know” the lord’s hands will be in that delicate and life saving moment. Trusts enough so that the surgeon simply lays his hands … his fingers … his love … over the lord’s love. And is guided.

      These few minutes needed no “preparation.” I found that a very powerful picture.

  3. I had a man at the church I now only work at tell me to “help me out” when I look men in the eyes while I am speaking to them I am unknowingly send the signal I am interested in having a sexual affair. To which I replied that is not what I am thinking so I am not really the one with the problem. To which he added well my wife agrees you look like the kind of woman that would steal another mans husband. I ignored it for the most part because this man has some depression issues. But later he made a few in appropriate comments about my “assets” I then told him not to talk to me anymore. It bothered me enough I decided to talk to the Pastor about it. To which the pastor replied, “I had issues, and was insecure. That the man who said these things was a good Christians and used to be a police officer, so he knows how to read people. Also how he was sure he didn’t mean anything by the comment he had made about my “assets” I was of course crying as he was saying these things to me. As a Christian, want people to see Christ in me not a adulterous woman based on my eye contact. I then complained to the church board who ended up being on my side 100 percent. They told the pastor he had to apologize to me. He did by saying he handled it wrong. But still insisted this other man and himself were only trying to help me. That was six months ago. During this time I was also dealing with a court case involving a man that had been a friend of ours for ten years, then found out he had molesting my daughter who was 7 at the time. “How many will you trample on today being so filled with light it blinds you?” God help us to see past ourselves..

    • Denine. You bring to these pages such love and faith. A vibrancy and an insight. A knowledge of the bible you “play” like a maestro plays a much loved piece of music. So much love, knowledge and affection – without any knowledge of how that touches others (e.g. me) so wonderfully.

      And then it gets messy. All that imperfection. All that us and them. All that “look at me” stuff. All that “look at you” stuff. All the righteous pointing and prodding.

      There are so many words and phrases above – all of which enfold your pain – your family’s pain – in the description of these events. All this pain and hurt – all in the name of “I am of I Am.” Jesus became indignant as he waded through the mire of so much polished righteousness. I would love to be indignant. Anger is usually the best it gets for me.

      Thank you for allowing me to share just a little. Thank you for trusting this communtiy and these connections. Enough to trust no (more) righteous judgement would rain down on you. Because your words trigger an indignant protectiveness in me. A desire to stand alongside you. To stand with you. And being connected across these earthly miles – I give you what I have. My love, respect and great affection.

      ( ( ( hug ) ) )

      • Jesus told me a couple of years ago — “your scares are beautiful. You get them from loving people even when they don’t love you back.” Remind you of anyone you know? I liked that.

        He truly does use everything for our good and His glory. In christ, hard things make you search for truth. Are we victims or over comers? We decide. Are we who the world says we are or are we who God says we are? Who’s words are you going to believe? Do we choose to walk in joy, peace, and power through the Holy Spirit or will we let the bad things that happen in all of our lives define and consume us. Still our choice- I choose life, I choose love, I choose Jesus- it’s not always easy, but His Grace IS sufficient. After every fall He reaches down picks me up, brush off the dirt, then again gives me the strength to stand. For this and my life, I am eternally grateful and madly in love.

        Thanks for your kind words. They are so refreshing to my soul. Thanking God for you! Love and blessings!

      • I choose. PING ..

        “I do choose …” that fella who said to Jesus if you choose you can …

        And I can think of at least (!!) a couple of figures in my life who present me such choices. Choice to choose. Always. That is what He is about.

  4. Wow, wow, triple-mocha-latte wow. I don’t even know where to begin because this post is saturated with insight and wisdom. I absolutely love the dandelion analogy. It works in so many instances.

    When we speak, we don’t realize how far our words scatter – whether across oceans or across tables, or whether they rest on the surface, awaiting another word-breath to sprinkle them elsewhere, or whether they take root in the heart, producing fruit (bitter or sweet). I shall never see my words in the same light again. I will picture them bubbling up from my heart, escaping my lips in a puff, floating on the breeze and settling I “know not where”.

    How easily our words can wound and send others “to the darkness”. We don’t mean to damage. Sometimes we genuinely believe we are “helping”. But, as you say, we aren’t thinking through the help to see to the other side of where there dandelion dust settles. We see the world and people in it through log-filled eyes and our love is “speckled with all sorts of imperfections”.

    This makes me think of David, who, in his sin-filled guilt prayed to his Father, “Who am I, O Sovereign LORD and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” He didn’t want to trample over anyone to get to the light. He humbled himself before God to admit his imperfections. He had seen the effects of his deeds. Oh I yearn to offer my words through that kind of humility.

    Thank you so much, Paul, for this beautiful exploration. Your relationship with our Father is apparent in your musings here. I feel privileged to taste of the fruits of your walk. Next time I rush to the light or stand before a dandelion, I will remember to look to my Father and say, “Who am I?”

    • Heather, I read your words last night. And was woweeeeeeeeeed! Ovewhelmed, taken to places I never even knew existed. Saw “stuff” I had never seen before. And had no words to express the gift you unwrapped here.

      And this morning. You know that inside stuiff – the stuff that is so private it is just between me and Him? I was taken to that place by your words. And this morning He and I are enjoying the words, the places, the connection you gifted to me. Just the two of us.

      And I so hope this expresses (without any more words) just an itty-bit of how much your words mean! Thank you!!

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