Friday, May 01, 2015
In the language of Ephesians, we expose the darkness primarily through the witness of our lives. When people see the fruit of the light in us, the deeds of darkness will be exposed as fruitless and empty.I read those words, even agree with them, but wonder what we are to do in a world that responds so negatively anytime their mistakes are illuminated. But then I think of these words of Christ as He sends out disciples:
What is the goal of this exposing? What are we seeking to accomplish by shining the light on the dark deeds of the world? What is God's purpose in all of this?
Ephesians 5:13 answers these questions in a captivating and unexpected way. This verse reads, "But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light." This verse reveals a two-part result of exposing by the light. First, that which is exposed "becomes visible." People see the deeds of darkness for what they truly are: fruitless, deceptive, and evil. This means that those who are engaged in such works have the opportunity to see the emptiness of their lives and to turn away from their sin and to the Lord, what we call repentance.
The second result of exposing by light reflects this turning. Verse 13 adds, "and everything that is illuminated becomes a light." This suggests that the people who have been doing dark deeds, when they see clearly the fruitlessness and wrongness of their actions, will indeed turn to the light and, like those of us who have gone before them, reject the darkness and become "light in the Lord" (5:8).
Thus, the goal of exposing is redemptive and inclusive.
Matt 10:14 - "Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.I think that sometimes we let the evangelical impulse, often rooted in the very material needs of our institutions, override this bit of advice from the Lord. Sometimes you just have to walk away.
Sometimes it is painful to let people suffer the consequences of these decisions. Ofttimes it is painful to live in a world where such decisions are made on a large scale - we end up sharing negative consequences that are not of our own doing.
And yet, the Lord that so advised us paid the ultimate undeserved consequence. Can we really complain?
consequence evangelism walking away