The Right Kind of Light Exposure

Published on Sunday, 01 March 2020 18:10
Written by Stewardship Today Staff

finance march20"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." A profound statement, the quote appears in a great many memes, often attributed to Plato, though no specific work is ever cited. More recently, writers assign Robin Sharma, author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, to the saying. Even if true, the quote does not appear in Sharma’s celebrated volume. For serious students and researchers, such a puzzle is frustrating. Who wrote or said it? What did he mean? What was on her mind?

In an age of rampant deceit, the last thing creative fabricators want is for their sordid work to come to light. Perhaps that is what the author of the phrase—whoever he or she is (or was)—had in mind. Children are afraid of the boogeyman, the monster who hides in the closet and under the bed, shadows that creep across the ceiling of a darkened bedroom. Adults who have something to hide—and that includes virtually everyone—want to keep those secrets private. Forever. American jurist Louis Brandeis famously wrote, “If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects,” from which we get the notion: “Sunlight is the best of disinfectants.” Those familiar with the voice of Jesus know he not only spoke of the light, he affirmed it as his very nature. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). St. Paul echoed the Lord’s message in his own letter to the first century church in Ephesus.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says: ‘Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light’ ” (Ephesians 5:8-14).

When we quote others, it is appropriate to “consider the source” and prudent to ask whose wisdom we cite. Clearly, through the tools of social media, users can spread falsehoods, as well as false attribution, just as readily as the truth, whether intentional or not. It is past time to care about that. Even more, it is right to live with few skeletons in our closets, so that when the light shines—on our personal habits, the ways we handle our finances, our dreams and our hopes, our relationships and our thoughts—we can celebrate the truth, even as we worship the living Truth, Jesus Christ.