( A commentary on John 12: 44-50)
Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.” (John 12:44-50)
“I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.”
Powerful, powerful words. Words that make eminent sense. As Christians, we take them to heart. Jesus is the light of the world. In him lies our salvation. Who wouldn’t believe the words? Who would not want to step out of the darkness surrounding us and walk in the light and promise of Jesus’ words?
The answer is quite stark . . too many people choose to stay in the dark!
We all have parts of our lives that are unhealthy, perhaps even destructive. Those negative habits hold us in the darkness. Even though we know that the light is for our good, we cling to the darkness.
Perhaps someone hurt us and we cannot bring ourselves to forgive that person.
Perhaps we are in an unhealthy relationship. We want to be someone’s friend. We want to love someone. We know that we should change the relationship. Yet we remain in an unhealthy relationship.
Perhaps jealousy is the problem. We compare ourselves to others. or we want to be what others are. We are unhappy because we cannot have what others have. We continue to live in that unhappiness.
What can we do to break these negative cycles and others like them?
We leave the darkness, not by focusing on the darkness but by focusing on the reality of our darkness.
If we are unable to forgive, the truth is that we have hurt others, and we depend upon their forgiveness and God’s forgiveness. When we can acknowledge our dependence upon the forgiveness of others, it can free us to forgive and to leave the darkness behind.
When we find ourselves caught in an unhealthy relationship, we need to focus on our own value. We are children of God. When we claim our own worth in God’s eyes, we can find the courage to leave the relationships that are destructive.
When we are jealous of others, we need to stop and focus on that which we have been blessed. No, we might not have what someone else does but we do have talents, relationships, and real gifts.
When we accept the truth of our own imperfection, we can forgive. When we and acknowledge or own value, we can leave destructive relationships. When we accept the truth of how blessed we are, we can come to find joy in our lives.
Of course, it is not always easy to face the truth and enter the light. If we do not choose to enter the light, our only other option is to remain in the darkness. Why would any of us do that?
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, in your word I find life, truth, and freedom. May I never doubt your word nor forget your commandments. Increase my love for your truth that I may embrace it fully and live according to it.”
God the Father sent Jesus into the world to save the world, not to condemn it, but in order to receive that gift, people needed to respond to it and leave the darkness and come into the light. Jesus has given us the Father’s commandment, which is “eternal life,” but we need to live by that commandment, otherwise God’s word, that commandment, will condemn us. Jesus’ words are words to do, not just to hear. His call is something upon which to act with commitment, not something just to consider and remain where we are. The ultimate meaning of a human life depends on how we respond to Jesus’ light, his words, his person, his salvation, placing that gift above human respect and every other consideration.