There’s an old hymn that we used to sing when I was a kid called “I Saw the Light” and it was a peppy tune with a great message. However, I’m not talking about that song or the fun message in it, but rather about an attitude. When we say we’ve seen the light, we mean we finally get something we hadn’t gotten before, or we’ve arrived, or we now see what we were missing. In that hymn, it’s referring to finding Jesus. And that’s a great thing, right? Of course it is! Unless…
Let me explain what I’m trying to explain!
Have you ever watched little kids playing a game? One gets way ahead and he starts bragging and stating that he’s the winner, long before he reaches the END space. Or when I was teaching a class of “gifted” kids, there was always one girl that slammed her book shut when finished with an assignment to proclaim to the class, “I’m done, aren’t I awesome!?” '
That kid wanted everyone to know that she had completed and understood what they all were still working on! Fast forward to our adult lives, and at any given gathering it seems there’s always one person stating a problem and another answering on how to solve that problem doing what “they did,” because it’s so simple…
In other words, when we “see the light” and get something or we are winning or succeeding, we tend to want others to see how great we are and to step up the game and be like us.
Let me explain further…
We, as Christians, tend to form a theology of God and all that he’s about, based on how he’s treated us as we’ve lived our lives. If we are successful financially and have really had no setbacks, we tend to say that we are blessed because we’ve given or been faithful. Although it may be true that we’ve been faithful and have given, we base our success on the fact that we are “so good.” If we’ve been healthy and never had any chronic or acute illnesses, we tend to brag about how we eat, how we live, and tell others how they ought to be “like us,” as they suffer over there with their chronic allergies and stomach issues.
I do not like it when folks (because I used to do it myself!) act and talk like the light they’re walking in is something to be shone in the faces of those who are still in a dark tunnel! It’s NOT cool, and it is certainly not attractive for an outsider that’s not in our “inner circle” of believers. I remember a time when I was first married and had graduated from college with a degree in math, when I thought those with money struggles just didn’t know how to balance their checkbook (or now, it would be an online account!) It was simple, wasn’t it? And I could be very non-sympathetic and judgmental on those with financial issues, until I found myself in the middle of one of those struggles!
What happened to the “light” in which I was walking? I was in one of those dark tunnels myself!
I still see it happening today. We sit and point fingers at those who aren’t quite as mature as we are, haven’t studied and learned who God is, or those that are falling short in one area or another. And I have never seen any good fruit come from that attitude of, “I saw the light, so now why can’t you?” In fact, that attitude will send people running from us, or fighting us in our faces, and neither has the outcome of a loving relationship with one another.
If we’ve seen the light in some area, we can walk in it and give thanks. But honestly, the only light we’re all called to walk in – together – is the light that enables us to love each other as Christ loved us. He sat with those that didn’t believe like he did, he had dinner with those that absolutely hated what he taught, and he loved the outcasts of society. He always got to the heart of the matter and spoke healing to that wound, instead of creating new ones.
If we find someone that hasn’t quite “seen” it like we have, we need to be cautious and careful that we love them instead of sing a tune “over” them. If they’re stumbling, we need to offer a hand of encouragement, not a word of shame. And if they’re downright awkward at living life successfully, prayer can do wonders for a friend! I mean, wonders!
Go look up that song, “I Saw the Light,” if you want. And give thanks that you’ve seen the light of God’s love. But remember that it was He that shone his light into your darkness by his death on the cross. Be the light in the dark paths of others, but don’t shine it in their faces…that will cause sheer blindness…sometimes permanently.