In honor of Hanukkah, I wanted to write about one of the common themes of the holiday, which is light. I see the saying “Be The Light” plastered all over the internet.. Especially around this time of year. But what does it actually mean? How can we effectively be a “light”?
John 13:34-35 says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
They will know us by our love.
The way I see it, you can’t be a light if you don’t have love.
My favorite chapter in the bible is 1 Corinthians 13. Most people, even those that don’t believe, have heard this chapter before at one point or another. The message in it is so very important. It says:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. -1 Corinthians 13:1-3
You can go about your life, doing good things, preaching, giving your time, helping others, going on mission trips, etc. but if you do not have love it means absolutely NOTHING.
If you have a message to share with others but are not conveying it in love it means nothing. It is like a sounding brass or clanging cymbal…. Which simply means noise, really, really annoying noise that no one wants to hear.
If you have an amazing faith that could remove mountains, but do not have love, it means nothing.
If you give everything away, or even sacrifice yourself, but do not have love it means….. nothing….
We are called to love as He loves. The next couple of verses define exactly what love is, and what it is not.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. -1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Be patient. Be kind. Do not envy. Do not boast, or be proud. Do not dishonor others. Do not be self-seeking. Do not be easily angered. Do not keep a record of wrongs. Do not delight in evil; rejoice with the truth. Always protect, trust, hope, and persevere.
That’s how we can love. That’s how we can be a light. It is so important to understand this, people are drawn to light because it is welcoming. We cannot be a light by condemning others and making them feel bad about what they believe. The only way to be a light is by loving. It’s not easy, in fact, it’s one of life’s greatest challenges.
Sometimes I’m impatient…(Okay, if I’m being truthful, most of the time I’m impatient) Because people can be idiots, and it’s so easy to run out of patience. Sometimes, I don’t want to be kind, because people don’t treat me with kindness, so why should I be nice to them? I’m guilty of being envious, boastful, prideful, etc. I have been the opposite of love. I have failed. I think we all have….
Yahweh knows we’re gonna fail. He knows we’re humans and sometimes make stupid decisions. We have all sinned and fall short of His glory. (Romans 3:23) But, he gives us a second chance, picks us up off our feet when we stumble, and sets us on the path again. He is so good to us because He is love.
I just want to love others in that way. Even though they hurt me and let me down consistently.
I may not be able to speak in tongues, I may not be super spiritual all the time, I may not have unfathomable knowledge, but, at the end of my life, I want to be able to look back and see that I have shown love to others, because that is the greatest commandment. It’s what matters most.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10
There is too much hate, too much darkness and too much negativity in this world. Don’t contribute to it, be a light. Be kind, be patient, and let all that you do, be done in love.
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” -James Keller