I like quotes. My kids got me a quote calendar for Christmas last year. A couple of weeks ago there was one from Eleanor Roosevelt that has laid on my desk in the days since. She said, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
Cursing the darkness is easy. It takes very little effort and requires no personal sacrifice. After all, the world is such a horrible place. There’s so much injustice and suffering and inhumanity… Cursing the darkness. And just that quickly we get dragged down in defeat and discouragement.
However, rather than just light a candle, Jesus gives us a greater task: Be the light. All through the preceding verses, the Beatitudes, He outlines the radical Kingdom lifestyle founded on grace and mercy. Because we’ve found peace with God, we can share what we’ve received.
- We can be the voice of hope and encouragement when we are surrounded by cynicism and derision.
- We can show mercy and love when we are faced with rejection.
- We can demonstrate patience and kindness when we encounter frustration and hatred.
- We can embody peace and security when pushed to fear and despair.
It won’t be easy. Living a counterculture lifestyle never is. But I think we can agree, the world is dark enough. Cataloging, quantifying and cursing the darkness will never chase it away. Only light can do that.
Be the light.