God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. John 3:16
This may be the first Bible verse I ever learned. John 3:16 is a memory verse taught in every Protestant Sunday school in the country. It plainly states that if you believe—you are saved. Yet as the words of Saint John continue, we see a more complex picture of this in practice.
And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.
The Light of Christ illuminates our actions. Those who don’t walk in the light are like roaches scurrying for the dark crevice when the light is switched on. Our knowledge and love of God, our desire to please Him, causes us to constantly strive to do better. But it is hard to have our faults exposed. Those of us living a sacramental life can take our sins to confession and start over. Washing away the darkness that creeps in over time. But if we don’t invite Christ to wash away that darkness, we become accustomed to it. It becomes our new normal and our very soul adjusts to the shadows.
I have seen Catholic friends make choices that put them in opposition to the Church, then slowly fade away from the sacraments, from Mass, from the community. It is too hard to show up week after week and see their dirty souls in the light of Christ. They condemn themselves and they turn from the light.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
Those who live in the truth will seek the light. They have confidence rather than shame. When their faults are exposed, they know confidently that they will be forgiven. They seek the light that their works are “clearly seen as done in God.”
Are you a seeker of light? What are the areas in your life that you find in need of illumination? When do you find it particularly struggling to live in the light? Are there particular situations or people around whom you struggle to stay in the light? Try to hold yourself accountable this week to living in the light and not giving into the darkness, even in tough situations.
MaryRuth Hackett is a full-time wife and mother doing her best to teach her four children to love God and country. You can find out more about her here.