Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired many with his words and deeds. During his 1957 Christmas sermon in Montgomery, Alabama, he based his strategy of non-violence on Jesus’ admonition to love your enemy. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that,” King preached. “Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else?”
Light is a metaphor for truth in the Bible. “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all,” John writes. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 Jn. 1:5-6). King used the metaphor of light to point to one aspect of truth as revealed by Jesus – to love your enemy. In a broader sense, our world is plagued by shadows. Your life is affected by the darkness of deception. That’s no surprise, as God has revealed to us that it’s a fallen world – at least for now.
It’s a dark world that misunderstands human origins. The resulting confusion leads people to believe they can create themselves in their own image. What some call “expressive individualism” has led to the hubris of medical interventions and autonomous truth claims that deny the Creator. In hindsight, victims of bad ideas realize their stumble in the darkness. The light of truth offers healing within God’s ideal for human identity and relationships.
It’s a dark world that denies any ultimate meaning. If you are but the product of an impersonal and material universe, then you must create your own meaning if any is to be had. The result is aimlessness or at best, hollow attempts to “make a difference.” The light of truth says God loves you and has a plan for your life. That plan includes an offer of fellowship with God. He will direct your life to be part of something far greater than yourself – a worldwide enterprise of sharing His love and truth with your fellow travelers.
It’s a dark world that has no destiny. If this is all there is, your expectation is “when I die, I shall rot.” Hope is limited to life in this fallen world. The light of truth says otherwise. Beauty, love, and altruism suggest a transcendence to life that is not material. Indeed Jesus said, “Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:26). It’s a dark, fallen world, but there’s hope! Civil rights gains show King got it right: Light overcomes darkness. That has personal implications for you. So much of human misery is caused by a failure to walk in God’s truth! To borrow from King, have you not come to such an impasse in your life that you must embrace God’s life-giving light – or else?