That’s great counsel for all of us, including those who have been doing more cursing than anything else lately. Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle! In other words, don’t just point out problems, help find solutions. Don’t criticize everyone and every thing. Do something to correct what’s wrong and commend what’s right. Don’t sit around sulking, shaming and shouting about how bad things are. Get up and do something positive to make things the way they ought to be.
In the Church, we’re not in the darkness cursing business. Never have been and never will be. Instead, we’ve been called and commissioned to “let our light so shine before men” (Matthew 5:16). To put it another way, we’ve been called to light a candle. Not put another log on the fire of conflict. The church does not exist to list all the things that are wrong. Rather, we’ve been enlisted to encourage and exhort others that things can be different ... better.
For years I’ve said if people would direct half as much energy to doing something positive and constructive as they do to whining, complaining and griping, they wouldn’t have anything left to whine, complain or gripe about.
Sure, there are always going to be things that need fixing. So let’s fix them instead of fussing over them. Sure, there will always be problems. But let’s solve them instead of stewing over them. Sure, there will always be differences to deal with, obstacles to overcome and injustices to make right. Let’s be the people who give it all we’ve got to reconcile and repair instead of walking away while things are still a wreck and people are filled with despair.
What if Jesus had looked at us and said, “What a sorry bunch that is. They don’t deserve Heaven”? That would’ve been a correct assessment by the way. But He didn’t do that. He would’ve been merely cursing the darkness, and He never did that. (Read that last sentence again.) The Bible says in Romans 5:8, that instead, He lit a candle. Paul puts it this way, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
How about you? Have you lit any candles lately? Or have you slipped into the same old habit of cursing the darkness?
In your marriage, have you made a list of all the things that are wrong? And all the reasons why there’s no hope, no future and no point in trying any more? I’ve got a better idea. Why not light a candle, instead?
At your job, are you fed up and frustrated with the way things have been going? Tired of being overworked, underpaid and never appreciated for who you are and what you do? Are you sick of seeing others who always seem to get better treatment, better benefits, or better everything than you do? Tempted to air your grievances and give those in charge a piece of your mind? Think it’s time for those in the know to know exactly how you feel? Here’s a better suggestion: light a candle.
In your relationships, have you been hurt by a friend? Betrayed? Slandered? Gossiped about, mistreated or rejected? Or maybe just ignored? Would you like to get revenge, pay them back and even the scales? Can I suggest an alternative? Light a candle.
What about concerns for our country? Economic uncertainty, unemployment, abortion, violence, racism, drugs, crime, injustice, threat of terrorism, an $18 trillion deficit, the political gridlock in Washington, D.C., ad infinitum. Ad nauseam. What could one person possibly do that could help our country and somehow make a positive difference? You could light a candle.
What about the concerns in our church? Completing the new children’s building and finding all the staff and volunteers it will take to minister to all the kids who are already here? Not to mention all the kids God will bring here once the new facility is done? What about raising the funds needed so we can start construction on the new youth building? What about the 3,000+ adults who aren’t in Connect Groups yet? Or the thousands who still don’t trust God when it comes to tithing? What about the need for more parking? More leaders? More workers? More everything?
If all you did were think about what you’re facing, you could easily get frustrated and overwhelmed by it all. Or, you could light a candle!
Now that’s good advice ... for all of us.
© 2014. Barry L. Cameron
[JOIN US TODAY AT 3:00, 4:30 OR 6:00 FOR OUR CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES. BY THE WAY, WE’RE GOING TO LIGHT CANDLES!]
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.