Early apologies that there probably won’t be any knock-knock jokes. After reading an article concerning a young life that was taken way too soon, and I am grieved. I just want to share what is on my heart today.
Darkness – dark·ness – /ˈdärknəs/ (noun):
- the partial or total absence of light.
- wickedness or evil.
When was the last time you watched the news or read the newspaper? Heck – when was the last time you scrolled down your Facebook news feed? If there is one recurring theme that you are guaranteed to see… The world can be a crazy place!!!!!!!!!! There are wars and rumors of wars. Our young ladies are being kidnapped and killed. Our young men are being gunned down in the streets not only by those in authority but there is blood on the hands of their own brothers. We have leaders who spew hate from their mouths and endorse others who promote racism. There is literal terror throughout the land. No longer is it safe to be in a school, a theater, a night club, at a concert, on an army base, or even in a church. Speaking for my country alone, it seems like it is almost unsafe to be in AMERICA — the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Beyond violence and crime, it seems like ANYTHING goes now days. Eww! This has become a perverse time. It isn’t uncommon to see everything inundated with sexual content…that is now the norm. I remember when I was growing up, you would ONLY see sex on TV if you stayed up past 11:00 p.m. and had movie channels. If sex was insinuated, you’d see a rocket take off, fire works, or something like that to let you know that man and woman were doing the do. Today? Not so much. You literally can get a full show at noon on regular TV channels. When I was a kid, I watched Tom and Jerry, Barney, Looney Toons, Duck Tales, and Reading Rainbow…stuff like that. Kids shows were kids shows that made us laugh and maybe even taught us a lesson. Today? Not so much. These “cartoons” are loaded with hidden messages and vulgar language, and the teen shows usually produce more kids acting too grown than kids that are simply entertained.
Lastly, it has become “the thing” to be shady and petty. *insert eye roll* It is as if we take joy in tripping our brother or laughing at our sister. Social media has become the platform for subliminal messages and sub tweets. It has given us an opportunity to be bullies and take jabs at people then hide our hands. It’s like there is a level of pleasure involved in spreading people’s business, laughing at other calamities, and kicking our peers when they are down. Don’t get me wrong, I can be sarcastic and I have provided my fair share of shade in my lifetime. I’m not without fault, but I am growing.
It is not my intention to make you sad, bring you down, or even make you feel hopeless today. Baby, there always hope! BUT this hope is tied to responsibility.
Light – /līt/ (noun)
- the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible
- understanding of a problem or mystery; enlightenment.
Growing up, whenever my family would leave the house, especially in the evening, my parents would instruct us to leave a hall light on. It was a ritual with reasons behind it that I will explain in just a moment. Well as adult, I have a terrible habit of failing to leave the hall or any other light on in my apartment when I leave. This in part is contributed to the fact when I leave my house in the morning, the light doesn’t seem necessary. At 7:20 a.m., it seems pointless to leave a hall light on because everything in my view is illuminated. The problem: when I return home 15 hours later, I can’t see anything…
Reasons why mama told us to leave the hall light on:
So back to me and my awful habit of leaving all the lights off. When I return home, I am surrounded by darkness. There have been a many of times that I forgot about the bag or shoes I left right by the front door that I ended up tripping over. Furthermore, I can’t tell you the panic that has graced my life when I walk in my dark apartment and hear an eerie sound. Baaaby!!!!! But you know what is the remedy to walking into a dark space? TURNING ON THE LIGHT!!
So we have clearly established that there is darkness all around us in our world, country, states, neighborhoods, and sometimes even in our own homes. Let’s talk about light for a minute. Check out that definition above… Light stimulates sight, makes things visible. But would you look a’here? Light is enlightenment…understanding of a problem. Let’s use the example of my dark apartment and my shoes by the front door. Darkness hid that from me creating the opportunity for me to be tripped by what I couldn’t see and possibly hurt by it. Light would have allowed me to see that there was some obstruction in my path and caused me to make a few decisions: I could step around the shoes so I wouldn’t trip and move the shoes so it wouldn’t be a hindrance in the future. That sounds like both visibility and enlightenment…
“You are the light of the world. A town built 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 [New International Version]
Responsibility – re·spon·si·bil·i·ty – /rəˌspänsəˈbilədē/ (noun)
- the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization.
- a thing that one is required to do as part of a job, role, or legal obligation.
- a moral obligation to behave correctly toward or in respect of.
The scripture above informs us that we, specifically believers, were placed on this earth to be a light. Our purpose on earth is to provide light that shines through our good deeds and ultimately gives glory to God. You remember me saying the remedy for walking into a dark space is simply turning on the light? Okay so here goes… According to Chris, I believe we all have the ability to turn off or hide our lights. I’ll explain via an example. In my home I have a light in every room, and each of those lamps/lights are covered by a shade. What is the purpose of [the] shade? When the light is turned on, the shade diminishes the glow of the lamp. In other words, it makes the lamp just a bit dimmer. Sometimes our need to fit in causes us to alter the brightness of our light. Sometimes we blatantly turn it off — because who wants to be the goodie two shoes or the holy roller of the bunch? And sometimes we simply apply [the] shade (all pun intended). And remember my mom’s reasoning for us leaving the hall light on… “So those outside the house would think someone is present in the house?” Believe it or not, non-believers expect those who wear the name of Christ to actually be different from them, hence why they can be so judgmental when we live without a standard and act out. With all of this in mind, we were not graced to be a light so that we could blend in with the darkness…
Have you ever wondered why you work where you work, live where you live, worship where you worship, shop at that particular grocery store, etc.? I am a believer of two things. Number one, nothing is by happenstance. Number two, there is an assignment in every placement. Maybe you are where you are in life so that you can affect change. There is a reason why it seems to be darkness around you…YOU ARE THE LIGHT! So when your co-workers gossip at the water cooler (if that even happens anymore), when your peers live and speak negatively, when strangers are depressed and despondent, it is your job to be and do the opposite.
Today I challenge you as I continue to challenge myself to stand out. Lights are designed to be seen and they are purposed to cancel out darkness. As you go through your day, make sure your words are filled with positivity, make sure your intentions are pure, makes sure you stand up for what is right and work to find solutions for what is wrong. But this means you can’t blend in. “You’ll never influence the world by being just like it.” You must be different. So in a world of danger, terror, hatred, evil, and pettiness, don’t throw shade…BE A LIGHT!
I hope this helps.