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It is not so fun to get out of bed and stumble around in darkness.
It is in darkness that I stub my toe, run into tables, trip over rugs and injure myself. I know this and yet it still keeps on happening. It is because I’m lazy. If I wake up in the middle of the night it is easier for me to shuffle in darkness to the kitchen for water than it is for me to turn on the lights. So injuries keep on happening. It is also less bothersome to walk in darkness. If I turn on the lights, it is so bright, it wakes me up, it bothers my eyes… it is just easier to walk in darkness.
A teenager wanted to talk to me after youth group one night. “Mike. I have to tell you something…” Tears came to his eyes, he looked down at the floor, he shifted his weight… “Mike. I am addicted to pornography.”
“How long have you been addicted?”
“Since I was twelve.”
“Have you told anyone about this? Do your parents know?”
“NO!” He looked up alarmed. “You aren’t going to tell them are you?!?”
“No. You are going to tell them.”
This guy had been addicted to pornography for five years. He was racked with guilt, shame and lust. His relationships with girls were awkward. He felt disconnected from God. For five years he did not tell anyone. He kept the light switch of his soul off. He walked in darkness and he kept on getting hurt.
It is easier to walk in darkness, but it is not what is best. “But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 (emphasis added)
It is easier to walk in darkness, but it’s fatal. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.” 1 John 1:9-10 (emphasis added)
I told the young man to tell his parents because a) they love him and want what is best for him, b) he was trying to confess his sin to me in order to avoid telling them his lengthy life of sin, c) they could actually do something to help him by taking the computer out of his room.
He never told them his sin. It was too hard because, a) he didn’t want to hurt them, b) direct confrontation is harder than indirect, c) he didn’t want to lose his computer privileges.
This story has repeated itself over and over again. The details, the names, and the sins are all different. But the story is the same. Teenagers make out with each other and go even further while they say that they are studying. Pastors log onto websites while they are supposed to be praying. Wives chat with an old boyfriend behind the backs of their husbands. Kids bully weaker kids at school while the parents think they are angels. Men ignore their families in order to stay after hours at work.
There are so many secret sins. It’s shameful. It’s dark. It’s easy. It’s fatal.
I was born a sinner. I sin. I hate it. I do not want it. I try to walk in the light. Sometimes it takes me a while to own up to my sin. Sometimes I do it right away. Light is worth it when it happens. Sometimes there are immediate consequences to confessing my sin: feelings are hurt, an argument starts or a disciplinary action is enforced. I do not like facing those consequences. No one does.
The teenager looked at me after and ended the silence.
“I can’t tell my parents.”
“You can’t or you won’t.”
Pause. “I won’t. It’s too hard. I’m afraid of what will happen.”
Stepping into the light may bring consequences. Living in darkness will definitely trigger fallout… eventually.
Time passed. The teenager grew distant in relationships; he fought with his parents, was harsh to his siblings and cut off some friendships (including me). The teenager distrusted God, disbelieved God and eventually rejected God.
There is more to his story and more to my actions. But that is not for you to know. You are to know your story and what you are to do with your actions.
- First. You are to walk in the light. It’s worth it.
- Second. You are to be someone who calls others into the light. If the teenager were to come to you… if he was your son… if he was your brother… if he was your friend… what would you have done?
Empathize and listen? “I’m so sorry…”
Many sins ARE confessed only to be dismissed. I have had loving Christians tell me at different stages of life, “It’s not a big deal.” Sin/Darkness is always a big deal. It should always be taken seriously.
Condemn and criticize? “You did what!”
Many sinners get the courage to finally confess only to be so condemned that they do not begin to walk in light, instead they grovel in guilt.
Grace and truth. “I love you and I will help you.”
An adulterous woman was brought to Jesus. He accepted her. She felt His love. He gave her grace. He told her, “I don’t condemn you.” He also took her sin seriously. He called her out of darkness. He called her to a new way of life, “go and sin no more.”
To walk in light is to walk free from condemnation – Grace. To walk in light is to walk away from your dark tendencies – Truth.
Walking in light isn’t easy. It is hard and it takes real friends who are committed to Grace and Truth. But it is always worth. So, choose the light. Turn the switch on in your life and for those around you.
Encouraged by this post? You just might want to . .