Martin Luther King Jr is credited with this extraordinary quote:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Acts of vengeance do not stop vengeance, hate does not stop hate, more evil does not stop evil. Martin Luther King Jr rightly understands that only that which is good and beautiful has the hope of moving people away from the status quo. Acts of peace and love have a way of disarming those who are against us, want to vilify us and do wrong to us.
Where did Martin Luther King Jr get such an amazing view of life? Jesus. In Matthew 5: 14-16 these words of Jesus are recorded.
‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’
What is the light which Jesus talks about here and how is it shown? Could it be sharing our faith, praying for people, and regularly attending church activities? Absolutely. Our light is shown through such things, but there is a phrase which Jesus uses which frames up these words.
‘Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’
This is not suggesting that we should not share our faith. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that the gospel, or good news, must be told and shared. Yet, Jesus also makes the point that the way we live matters. In a world where there is greed, acts of generosity are light. In a self absorbed culture, selfless acts are light. In a world full of hate, a kind word and a demonstration of love, is light.
If you want to change this world? If you want to bring light into darkness? The first step is not that difficult. Act. Do something. Be generous, loving and selfless this week, and in doing so you are taking a step to let your light shine.