This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.1
While he NIV (quoted above) reads, "This is the verdict", other translations render that phrase as:
This is the crisis.
This is the doom.
This is the judgement.
This is the condemnation.
This is the basis of the judgment - the indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence.
As you read this passage and understand the gravity of it, you begin to sense that these are not the words of the sweet, gentle, accepting-of-anything Jesus from Sunday School lessons. This is the real Jesus. Kind, yes. Loving, yes. And yet, these words are tough as iron and intentionally gloss over nothing. They are certainly not complimentary. What they are is judgement.
Reading this passage in context reveals that Jesus is speaking primarily to unbelievers - those who hear about Him but refuse to come to Him because they are content with the life they already have.
It's easy to see why those who don't know God and don't want to know God would prefer to stay in the dark.
But what about those of us who claim Jesus as our lord?
Do we run boldly to the light so our deeds can be seen? Or do we inch toward the shadows, hoping no one will notice?
These are important questions because it's clear from Scripture that this walking or living or being in the light is more than mere pastel imagery of spiritual bliss. It's an intensely pragmatic, rubber-to-the-road, gritty kind of thing. It affects real life, every day.
Are we comfortable being open, sincere and ultimately transparent? Do we allow others to see us and know us without reserve because we have nothing to hide and much to reveal?
And if not, why not?
Here's one way I distinguish light-living from dark-living. As a Christian, living in the light means I should never be involved in anything that requires closed doors, virtual locks, real locks, or secret hiding places.2
It means I'm perfectly comfortable with every moment of everything I do
- in my home,
- in my car,
- on the internet,
- at a store,
- in the office
being watched by my wife, kids, parents, boss, friends and enemies without fear or embarrassment.
It means I never need to cover my tracks, think up a good excuse, tell a small lie, or look around carefully to make sure no one is watching.
Simply put, integrity and righteousness love the light.
And since by God's grace we have been literally transferred from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of His Son, let us act like who we are and live as children of Light.3
1 - Gospel of John 3:19~21
2 - Obviously, these statements exclude all things that we're commanded to hide or are responsible to protect - as well as things that must be kept private for the sake of modesty or decency.
3 - Colossians 1:13