Curse the darkness? Or light a candle?
I was actually quite surprised by the response that I got from what seemed like such an insignificant action. And it made me realize that there is a lot of darkness these days.
Diane and I stopped at Trader Joe’s last weekend to pick up a few items. As I reached for a cart in the outside corral, another guy approached from the opposite direction. I took the cart in my hand, and nudged it toward him, offering something that cost me nothing. Then I grabbed the next cart in the line and started to head into the store.
The stranger thanked me repeatedly, and then added, “most people would not have done that, you know.” Really? It took about three seconds of my time. I mean, I would have had to push my cart PAST him to get to the store, forcing both of us to navigate around one another. It seemed like a simple gesture. And yet in his experience, most people would not have done even that. Wow.
Now before you think I’m some kinda super-saint, I should point out that I probably miss the majority of opportunities to act like that. Usually because I’m in a rush to get somewhere. Just like many of you. The result is a society that lacks kindness. And when you live for a while in that environment, you grow cynical. There’s a darkness that starts to set in. We begin to complain about all the things that are wrong with society, and with people in general. I call this “cursing the darkness.” It’s become somewhat of a national pastime.
But I love the challenge I once heard, “You can either curse the darkness, or light a candle.” So in little ways like I experienced at Trader Joe’s, we can light candles. Which is pretty much what Jesus was talking about when he said,
You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others… (Matthew 5:14,16)
Lighting candles is our birthright as followers of Christ. He said as much.
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)
So following Jesus gives us every reason to stop cursing the darkness, and start lighting candles. Have fun chasing out the darkness today!