“We are either going to fight each other or fight the darkness. But we can’t fight both.” Beth Moore
That person who thinks the polar opposite of you isn’t darkness. That girl who votes for a different president or senator or governor isn’t darkness. That man on the street corner who smells different isn’t darkness. That child in your kid’s class at school who acts out and hurts people isn’t darkness.
Darkness is darkness. Sin and brokenness and shame and injustice–that’s darkness. And, yes, shards of that ugly darkness break off and lodge within us. Sometimes a tiny, dark speck burrows its way under the skin–mostly concealed, mostly hidden. Sometimes a dark log splits us in half–maybe as the result of pain or loss or deep, wounding hurt. But instead of recovering, the log becomes a part of us like a tree whose roots wrap around the sidewalk. Yes, darkness can splinter its way in, but those people who think differently, believe differently, choose differently–they are not darkness.
It’s important to remember because we go around swinging our swords, using our status updates or our 140 characters, and we cut, slice and dismantle people. We call it truth or standing up for our beliefs, but we are fighting the wrong battle. And meanwhile the darkness keeps on spreading, slithering its venomous hate because we are distracted. Because we are fighting the wrong battle.
Gay people are not the darkness. Straight people are not the darkness. Pro-abortion people are not the darkness. Pro-life people are not the darkness. Democrats are not the darkness. Republicans are not the darkness. People are not the darkness. Darkness is the darkness. And we are all born into darkness because of sin. We all have our issues. We all screw up. But the message of the gospel, the message Christ came and lived and died to share with us is that He is Light. And we can have light. And we can share light. And we can walk in light.
In John, we read the story of the adulterous woman surrounded by scribes and Pharisees who wanted to stone her. They asked Jesus what he thought and he responded, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one they all went away. Just a couple verses later Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Every day I get the choice to walk in darkness or walk in light. Every person I encounter is faced with the same choice. And when I see a person walking in darkness, I have another choice. I can choose to fight that person or I can choose to fight the darkness. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”
Which battle will we fight?