Shine the Light

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

“Light up the darkness.” ~Bob Marley

A good friend of mine recently posted a video link on Facebook. In the video, an angry preacher is spouting worm theology and hellfire on a subway car. He receives a number of jeers from other passengers who are less than impressed with his words. But then a gay man stand up and chooses to answer the preacher’s angry, hurtful words.

The gay man’s tone remains firm, but gentle throughout, and he keeps his volume on an even level. It is what he says, more than how loudly he speaks it, that drowns out the preacher’s voice.

“No,” he says. “No, you are false. I am a man. I am a good man. I am a gay man. And Jesus loves me.”

The preacher gets a few more words in, but his voice is harder to read now. The gay man continues, “He is wrong. Jesus is love. No, Jesus is love. Get thee behind me false prophet, Jesus is love. Jesus is love.”

This gay man did not respond in kind to the preacher’s vile words and angry voice. He answered gently and with love, offering correction without retaliation, and won the hearts of the other passengers in the car, who joined his chorus. The preacher had lost whatever audience he had as soon as the gay man started to speak.

I was deeply moved by this video. I rather think Jesus was moved by this gay man’s actions, too. It strikes me that this is the perfect way for us to show that we too are God’s people, whether we are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender as the case may be.

Jesus himself had this to say about what should distinguish his disciples: “They will know you as my disciples if you have love for one another.” Jesus also made it clear multiple times in the Gospels that even those who present themselves as our enemies are to be recipients of our love. They, too, are God’s children. They may not be willing to receive our love, but our response must be to give it anyway.

Jesus does not mean for us to be doormats for our opponents, but to offer loving correction when our brother or sister missteps against us. That is what this man on the train did. He did not suffer the preacher’s hateful words without resistance, but neither did he stoop to the same level of darkness. He chose instead to shine the spotlight of Jesus’ love on the other man’s hypocrisy.

God floods us with grace so that we may offer it to others. For those who accept the gift, reconciliation is born. But those who cling to darkness are exposed by the light we shine on them. Shine the light and trust in the Grace that Jesus gives; like him, we are sons and daughters of the Living God and He is well pleased with us.