Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.
Relate: I was reading through some reviews on Imdb and saw one for one show how one of the main characters was “courageously exploring” the fact that she was a lesbian. The reviewer said this was not the main thrust of the TV show but it was a subplot that she was glad they had included. “It is good to see such uplifting content.” I moved on to look for something else to watch.
Or perhaps read. I always have a few different books I am working through, one I have recently started is The Great and Holy War by Philip Jenkins. I am less than a third of the way through but so far he is demonstrating how each country portrayed World War One as a titanic spiritual struggle against evil with their side representing good. This wasn’t just something spun up by each side’s propaganda machine but rather a belief that pervaded every level of society. Jenkins quotes one religious leader after another endorsing slaughter of the enemy “for God’s sake”. Some might have been lunatic or fringe cranks but others, both conservative and liberal were major figures I know and respect. Part of me really wishes he was overstating his case, but another part has seen first hand the insane amount of militaristic jingoism masquerading as religion on social media during more recent conflicts and events as well as at certain church services around Memorial Day or Independence Day.
As I started typing up this devotional I also remembered back a certain sci-fi show I have seen set in the distant future. This was a place was one where the world’s religions no longer existed. Humanity had evolved beyond that and science had finally brought us beyond the barbaric need for religion. It is the same talking points you might read from militants like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris: “The idea of God is an evil we need to eradicate like we have the smallpox virus.”
React: Calling good evil and evil good is nothing new. Every society feels as though they have reached the pinnacle of moral philosophy and the cultural ideas they are trumpeting today are so much greater than the backward thinking of yesteryear. The greatest evil in the pop psychology of modern thinking is intolerance or rigidly holding to moral absolutes. The greatest good is to say there is no such thing as good and evil. Just as the greatest good fifty years ago was to be a law-abiding member of society and not some civil rights rabble rouser. Just as the greatest good a hundred years ago was to pick up your rifle and march to the trenches in this ultimate conflict against evil. Just as…
It is very easy to allow culture to dictate our morality rather than scripture. It is actually a very hard thing to guard against. Cultural influence is everywhere and it is consistently promoting darkness as light. The problem is, culture is constantly changing its opinions. As rock solid and all-pervasive as it seems today, fifty years from now it will just look silly. On the other hand, scripture does not change. God’s ordinances will be just as absolute. Where are we getting our light from? What are we allowing to influence the way we think and view the world? Are we focusing in on the truth of God’s Word or are our eyes constantly straying toward’s the world’s darkness in disguise?
I confess that it is all too often oh so easy to buy into my cultures dictates for a definition of right and wrong. I even admit that I will sometimes catch myself trying to interpret scripture through my modern mindset and understanding rather than seeking out what was said in the context of when it was written. Be my vision. Be my understanding of what is truly good, what is truly light. Help my eyes to focus on You first and only. Let me see everything else through the lense of the Light that You provide.