Darkness is a funny thing. Often, it can represent fear. When I think about “darkness” one thing that comes to mind is “fear of the unknown.” Fear of what may be lurking in the darkness can be distressing or paralyzing. The darkness contains all the dangers of my wildest imagination and so I fear not only the things that may be in the darkness, but even darkness itself seems to take on a life of its own as something to be feared. The fear of the unknown prevents me from taking risks, taking chances, or making changes. Fear of rejection, fear of honesty, fear of facing the ugly truth about my situation can lead to a strange irony.
You see, as much as we might fear the darkness, we can also find the darkness comforting. Or, at the very least, we find ways to be comfortable staying in one spot in some dark corner. In the darkness, I can find safety and refuge because who I really am isn’t known by anyone. I can hide in the darkness with my pride, envy, selfishness. I can build a wall for myself in this dark corner of solitude and no one has to know the real me. I can keep on pretending because in the darkness, no one can see the truth.
In truth, we know that there is no hiding our sin. Just as last week when we looked at Jonah trying to run from God, Jesus will teach us in John chapter 3 that the darkness we hide in won’t last. John 3:19-20 “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.”
In the book of 1 Corinthians, we see the Spirit working though Paul to expose some of these evil deeds that were going on in the church at Corinth. They preferred the darkness, because in it they could get comfortable with sins of selfishness, pride, lust, anger, and the like. These evil deeds were exposed and it was a painful but necessary experience. This very issue is revisited in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 “yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
Worldly sorrow tells us that darkness is our friend, that we can keep our evil thoughts and deeds secret, that we can live a life of holiness on the outside but inside our sin can thrive. This is a lie. This is not true holiness. This is not the life that God had designed for us. Godly sorrow brings salvation (10) through an eagerness to be cleansed (11).
Are we more eager to change, or are we content to keep on trying to live in the dark?
We are known. Our deeds are known. Our thoughts are known. And we are living a lie if we find safety in the dark. Thankfully, Jesus calls us out of darkness and into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
How will you answer the call?