Light or Dark. It’s Your Choice.

img_2132Light and dark—these are common metaphors for good and evil, and very real in the spiritual world. We have a choice to turn toward light or into the shadows of darkness in any given circumstance. Being aware of this choice and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide every moment is crucial. He desires to walk with us into the light. My daily devotional put it this way, “[He] seeks to guide us into the light with every thought, emotion, action, and decision.”

In even a little thing like a thought, the dark lures us. We must choose to take every thought captive before it manifests into emotion or action, and allow the Holy Spirit’s power to work within us. When we do, we resist the dark. Make wise choices as filtered through James 3:17.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Are your choices:

  • pure?
  • peace-loving?
  • considerate?
  • submissive?
  • full of mercy and good fruit?
  • impartial?
  • sincere?

If so, then they are wise choices.

In the final days before the 2016 presidential election, questions abound. What will our nation look like in the next year? It already feels chaotic and without a moral compass. Can it get worse? My prayer is for hearts to open to God’s love and truth. I pray Ephesians 5:14:

…’Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’

We desperately need the light of Christ to turn back the darkness.

I also pray Matthew 4:16, that before we fall into even greater darkness, the people of our nation will see a great light. On we who dwell in the shadow of death, the greatest light will dawn.

In God We Trust.

Build Bridges, Not Walls

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

When someone hurts you – I mean really hurts you – it can take a very long time to allow forgiveness in. Why is it we tend to wallow in our emotional pain and anger? We were hurt, so we want to stay mad.

I understand this tendency when we are wronged in some dramatic or terrible way. Unfortunately, those things happen. It takes huge doses of courage for parents to forgive their child’s killer, or for an abuse victim to forgive their abuser. I can’t say for sure I would have that kind of courage.

But, what about when we’re hurt by a series of small things – arguments, thoughtless comments, exclusion? Small things can add up. But, can we forgive and move on, especially when a friendship is at stake?

For the sake of our relationships, forgiveness is essential. Friendships aren’t perfect because we are imperfect. We all start arguments, say thoughtless things, exclude people at times. We are in a constant battle between selfishness and selflessness, pride and humility. To keep from building walls between us, we have to humble ourselves when we are wrong and say, “I’m sorry.” And we have to be able to forgive when wronged. The longer we wait, the higher and stronger the wall that’s built, until it’s near impossible to break it down.

As Christ-followers, we are called to forgive as we were forgiven by Christ. We are to extend infinite grace and forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we agree with or condone the other person’s actions. But, it does mean that we care enough to talk through issues and work out solutions together.

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Matthew 18:21-22

Lack of forgiveness affects not only you and the relationship with the person you refuse to forgive, but it affects those around you who watch you pile on brick and mortar.

Christ was a carpenter, not a mason. He didn’t build walls, but bridges.