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Spiritual Light versus Spiritual Darknessby Mary T. Hoffman
This morning I was thinking about all the effort people expend trying to suppress or hide things that make them "uncomfortable". Very early on, many children are taught not to speak of certain things, to present a certain façade around others, not to "embarrass the family," etc. Not too long ago, families would hide "insane" or "retarded" family members away, out of sight.
Then I started to think about the way whole societies do the same thing that families do: hiding "unpleasantness," pretending that all is well when the opposite is true, keeping certain things "hushed up." Concentration camps (for humans or animals) are an example.
Yet, the Bible tells us that what is hidden will be revealed:
17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. (from New International Version)
The New American Standard Bible version states:
"For nothing is hidden that shall not become evident, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light.
I thought about all the horrors going on, around the clock, that very few people care to admit: the factory farms (animal concentration camps), the assembly-line slaughterhouses (like the one with huge happy-looking murals painted on the outside), the laboratories where animals languish in agonizing pain, the training of animals to perform inane tricks for onlookers’ amusement, etc.
The more evil and the more exploitation that goes on, the more the propaganda (public relations) machines grind out slick denials: we are inundated by commercials featuring cutesy, personified, TV animals who just love to be eaten by humans, such as tuna, chickens, pigs, cows. And it works, because the PR experts know that most consumers want others to lie to them, to hide the truth while making them feel good about whom they are eating or wearing.
We mouth sayings like, "The truth will set us free." But few are willing to be set free by the truth. The irony is that most of us resist the truth. Evil holds us captive because we are not willing to be set free by the truth. To say "Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know" is to compound the evil. By not wanting to know the truth, we remain captive to the lie and to evil. To hide evil is to compound it.
The Bible refers to darkness as the hiding place of evil. It is interesting that Nicodemus sought out Jesus at night under cover of darkness, apparently wanting to save himself embarrassment should any of the other Pharisees (the "good ole boys") find out about his visit. Such cowardly "hiding" is as common today as ever.
3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." (from New International Version)
The next time Nicodemus came forth in the daylight, no longer afraid to hide from the truth. However, he still had some spiritual growing to do, because he assumed Jesus was permanently dead:
39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. (from New International Version)
Hiding the truth supports evil acts and encourages evildoers to continue in their paths of unrighteousness. It encourages evildoers by letting them think they can "get away with it", as we see in Matthew 23:27-28 where Jesus says:
27 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (from New International Version)
Simply put, the Scriptures describe Satan as the prince of darkness and Jesus as the Light and the Truth. Even Plato (427?-347 B.C.), the great Greek philosopher, remarked, "We understand why children are afraid of darkness, but why are men afraid of light?"
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