Charlie Brown is walking in his neighborhood at night and he come across Linus who is holding a candle. He asks him about it and Linus says he has heard it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Charlie Brown agrees but says there are some people who see things differently. In the final panel, Lucy is shown yelling into the night, “YOU STUPID DARKNESS!”
I’m with Lucy on this one.
There are times when the darkness needs to be cursed. Paul said we are to hate what is evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). In Ephesians 5:11 he tells us, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Darkness is stupid and curse-worthy:
- When the abnormal is presented as normal and the normal as abnormal, that’s darkness.
- When evil is called good and good is called evil, that’s darkness.
- When violence is presented as the answer, that’s darkness.
- When drugs are presented as the answer, that’s darkness.
- When taking the life of the unborn is presented as the answer, that’s darkness.
- When having a bunch of stuff is presented as the answer, that’s darkness.
- When self-fulfillment is presented as the answer, that’s darkness.
These are all just different verses of the same, familiar song. It was first sung in a garden a long, long time ago. It’s about getting God out of our lives so we can get on with doing what we want to do. It’s about throwing off the bondage of believing in order to find liberation and self-fulfillment by following the path of least resistance and greatest lust. It is difficult and disheartening to watch people embrace things they are convinced will bring them life but will inevitably lead to heartache and loss.
From here, it can be just a few, quick steps for the disciple into disillusionment, negativity and a sour, critical disposition where we end up spending all of our time cursing the darkness rather than lighting the world. The early disciples lived in a world less favorable that ours. Yet E. Stanley Jones reminds us their message wasn’t, “Look what the world is coming to.” It was “Look Who has come into the world.”
That’s exactly what we need today. It takes a strong faith to acknowledge the darkness around us but to refuse to be overcome by it. That’s why Peter’s letter is filled with hope (5 x’s), grace (6 x’s) and love (9 x’s). We need to drink that in if we are going to fulfill our mission and be the salt of the earth.
Let’s not forget that while as exiles we are to be detached from the world, at the same time we are to be very much attached to the people in it. That’s the way of Jesus.