Skip to main content

Dark need not lack light

When life is dark, a light will shine for those who live rightly—those who are merciful, compassionate, and strive for justice.  (Psalm 112:4 VOICE)

I know we all go through "dark" times in our lives - things just closing in around us until we feel as though all of life is being sucked from within and we have less than zero to actually give at any given moment.  We can all take comfort in knowing when darkness is closing in around us, God's light will shine, illuminating what we cannot see, differentiate what cannot be made out, and expose the "flimsiness" of those walls of darkness.  As darkness invades, look for the source of light which cannot be extinguished - a light cultivated in times past and there now when we need it most.

Our passage assures us that those who "live rightly" will experience this light. What does it mean to "live rightly"?  It is a question many have sought to answer, but seldom realizing just how much the definition of "right" changes with each new generation.  What was considered "right" in my youth is now considered "out of date" or just too "rigid" of a rule to live by. If you have ever heard your teen or young adult say, "Oh mom, they just don't do it that way anymore," or perhaps "That is so not the way it is nowadays", then you have experienced it - the shifting of the "rules" to fit the desires of the present generation.

To understand "right living" as God defines it, we have to go back to scripture - not to our own set of values or moral beliefs.  What does scripture say?  This is the only "constant" we can truly count on for God's Word does not change, nor do his promises to those who live according to that standard. As we examine our passage, we find three character traits of those who "live rightly".  They are merciful, compassionate, and strive for justice.

Merciful - the ability to forbear, especially when it comes to an enemy, not taking revenge or mounting a retaliatory attack.  It is the showing of favor when absolutely no favor is deserved, and often not even sought.  It is the compassionate display of refraining from the ways their actions normally would receive a response.  Merciful people know how to show mercy because they have been the recipients of God's divine mercy too many times to actually count!  Let me ask this:  In what circumstance, or toward which individual in your present circumstance do you need to show a mounting attack of mercy rather than retaliation?  It can be the toughest step to take - toward the one who who is really more of a drain, problem, or "stinker" than you'd really like to deal with - but it is also the most rewarding.

Compassionate - I don't think we can truly show mercy until we understand what it is to be truthfully compassionate toward another.  Compassionate individuals want to find way to alleviate the misery of another - not to increase it, do away with it, or take revenge upon it.  These two attributes go hand-in-hand and cannot easily be separated.  The suffering another is really going through, even when it may seem like they are oblivious to the underlying pain, mistrust, anxiety, or hurt they are presently in may not be immediately obvious to us, but we can learn to respond to hurt with compassion.  The desire to alleviate hurt - this is at the heart of all God desires of his children.  

Justice - it may come last, but I think it is the "magnetic" point of our compass. It is the ability and willingness to set a course which is upright, even in the midst of everything which is challenging that moral excellence.  When the kids tell you your morals are outdated, it isn't that you need to change your morals, you just need to stay true to the "magnetic" pull toward excellence God puts deep in the hearts of his children.  Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…