The Subtlety of Darkness

darkness

John 3:19 NIV This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”

Every once in a while I get a glimpse into the reality of what true darkness really is, sometimes within myself and sometimes by what I see in others. To use the term “diabolical” is not really an overstatement because when you begin to see the real face of darkness, it truly isn’t pretty. And often it’s not just the utter selfishness of ourselves that comes to the surface but more often than not, it is accompanied with an equally utter disregard for others. And with darkness, it’s that subtlety of association, with those two realities, that displays the depth of evil.

If you ask the average person who doesn’t believe in God, if they are basically good people, most will say that they are. People don’t normally do much drilling down when questioning their own motives. It’s relatively easy to justify just about anything as long as we keep our justification for what we have done, at the superficial level. If we keep the focus on others and off of yourself, our motives aren’t really problematic. That’s why most of us have two sets of rules, rules that others have to follow and rules that we have to follow. I won’t ask you which list you think is normally longer.

C.S. Lewis had the following to say about evil: “We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it.” (C. S. Lewis (1984). “The Business of Heaven: Daily Readings from C. S. Lewis”, p.77, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Many of us who have studied God’s Word and tried to apply the teachings of Jesus to ourselves, find the observation of C.S. Lewis to be true. There is a much sharper contrast between light and darkness than meets the eye. Light illuminates objective truth while darkness hides it. Listening to the words of Jesus makes this contrast much clearer. His words go deep, to where pride dwells, to where our motives are searched in the light of balanced justice and equality, where objective truth can’t be ignored.

Objective truth is where there really is only one answer and that answer applies to everyone. Subjective truth is where we individually determine what truth is and subsequently, truth, as we define it, is subject to our own opinion and perspective. With subjective truth, what I hold to be truth is not necessarily held as truth by others and vice versa. There is a big difference between objective truth and subjective truth.

We recall some of those objective truths that Jesus speaks about like removing the log from our own eye before we attempt to remove the twig from someone else’s eye or forgiving others when they do us wrong so that God can forgive us when we have  wronged others. To receive mercy from God we need to be willing to give mercy. To receive forgiveness from God we need to be able to forgive others. It’s a two way street. That’s because true justice is for everyone, not just us. And don’t forget the objective truth about adultery. Jesus pointed out that lusting for someone in our heart, regardless as to whether we actually commit the sin of adultery, is no different than actually committing the sin. Jesus goes right to core of this particular sin, showing us that just because we haven’t physically committed adultery, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we wouldn’t, because if we lust in our hearts, it really means that we only lacked the opportunity to commit this sin. When we lust in our hearts, in truth, we’ve already crossed over that line.

All these objective truths that Jesus spoke of goes to the root of the problem with humanity. We want to determine what is right for us and wrong for others. We want to be the one that makes the decision of what justice is. The problem is and always has been, since our nature was governed by self, after the fall, that we aren’t just and we don’t want God’s objective truth.

A few months ago I had a discussion with a co-worker of mine about God and after a lengthy discussion he made a statement that was very truthful. He said that he believed in God but he did not want to get to know more about Him because he was afraid of what God might ask him to do. That honesty is rare but he knew why he didn’t want to get to know God or God’s ways.

I know a lot of people say they don’t believe in God but in a good number of cases I don’t really think that is the honest truth. I think that the more honest answer for a good number of people is that they do think that there is a God, they just don’t want to know Him because if they get to know Him, then they will have to acknowledge His objective truths and ultimately they prefer their own subjective truths.

Kind of puts into perspective what transpired in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, doesn’t it? And interestingly enough, for a good number of us, it’s only when we come to the place where we truly comprehend that our decisions aren’t working out as we thought they would, that we open our minds and hearts to looking to God and considering what He has to say.

I was reading in the Gospel of Mark today and I ran across this objective truth that Jesus spoke. In Mark 3:24 NIV Jesus said “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” I thought of the multitude of things that divide us now as a nation, as a people, as a democracy, as a Church, like I’ve never seen before. I could list a lot of them but I really don’t want to. We all want justice as we perceive it. But equality for me is not the same as equality for you. We’ve forgotten the root word of equality. We’ve become blind to our own blindness, deaf to our own deafness and our hearts have become hardened so that compassion and mercy aren’t factored into the problems we face any more. I know the scripture verse below is for Israel but for God’s people, where ever we are, we all desperately need healing, and I’m pretty sure the general principle from God, still applies.

2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

 

 

 

 

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About

Disciple of Jesus, married to Peggy, with 5 grown up children, 7 grand children, ex-Canadian military and residing in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. a.k.a. "Papa"

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Posted in Apologetics, Defending Christianity, Faith
One comment on “The Subtlety of Darkness
  1. Bruce, this is an incredible post. So much depth and wisdom in your insights. And so very true that often it isn’t a matter of not believing but rather choosing not to believe for fear of what God’s objective truth might mean in our lives. Even for those of us who follow Christ, that objective truth is difficult to face at times. As you say, sin isn’t pretty… Thanks for this challenging and profound post! God bless you!

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