Confronting Darkness

Can you fill a room with darkness?

Imagine yourself in a semi-dark room. How can you make it darker? Can you rent a darkness generator and pump more “dark” into the room?

You can’t, because darkness isn’t a real thing. You can’t “create” darkness—you can only exclude light. You make the room darker by shutting the doors and hanging heavy black curtains on the windows.

Now imagine yourself in the same large, absolutely dark room. What happens if you light a small candle? Can there be enough darkness to obscure the light?

Of course not. When light and darkness collide, the smallest bit of light always wins. Light ALWAYS displaces darkness.

Anger is like darkness

I think anger and bitterness work like darkness. They can seem overwhelming and stifling, filling a space until it seems there’s no room for anything else.

But if you inject even a small bit of love, it’s just like lighting a single candle. Love displaces hatred. When love and hate collide, love always wins.

It doesn’t feel like that when you’re in the middle of it. When you’re in that big, pitch-black room, the darkness feels real and ominous and overwhelming.

But it’s an illusion, a lie. That darkness that feels so stifling is really just a void. It retreats at the slightest hint of light.

That’s how it feels when you’re surrounded by anger and criticism and bitterness. They feel so real and powerful, but that feeling is the enemy’s lie. They’re a negative, a void, the absence of something real.

Hate blocks love just as those blackout curtains block light. So if you respond to hate with more hate, if anger sparks retribution, you’re just adding a heavier layer of curtains. Bitterness in response to criticism just blocks more light and creates the illusion of even more overwhelming darkness.

Add some light

Want to dispel anger? Don’t fight with it—that only serves to block the light. The best way—the only way—to defeat hate is to displace it with love.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Jesus dispelled darkness just by showing up. He shined the light into a dark world, and darkness retreated.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

Simple or easy?

It’s really that simple: love displaces hatred as surely as light displaces dark. The way to remove the void is by filling it with something positive and real.

But don’t confuse “simple” with “easy.” Jesus never claimed that following Him was easy. As some once said, “He promised His followers a banquet—not a picnic.”

Confronting darkness with a single candle isn’t easy. Confronting a world of anger and criticism with one small bit of love and forgiveness isn’t easy.

Personally, I’d prefer to let someone else confront the darkness. I’m just not sure it’s optional.

“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. Matthew 5:14-16

What are your thoughts about being the candle that displaces the darkness?

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Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site

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