The Power of the Dark Side
If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him. John 11:9-10
When I was a kid, I was introduced to a movie franchise – still popular 40 years later – in which there was a continual conflict between the dark side and the light side of the universe. The good guys were on the light side of course, always acting honorably, doing right. The bad guys were obviously evil and for some reason, wanted to seduce the good guys over to their side. I could never see the attraction of evil. Why would anyone choose to go over to the dark side? In the movie world, things were black and white, and I knew that if I were in the story, I’d always be on the side of right.
As I grew up, the world became a little less black and white though. There were things that I knew weren’t good and right, but which appeared to be very attractive. As I began to understand the seductive power of the dark side, I also began to justify my reasons for indulging in it. I deserve this. I can get away with it. I’ll just ask God forgiveness and things will be back to normal tomorrow. I thought I could remain in the light, occasionally enjoying the darkness, with no consequences. I tried to live in the gray.
Jesus’ words in today’s passage reminds me of a painful reality though. Like that movie franchise, he used the metaphor of light and dark to illustrate that there is definite good and terrible evil in the world. If I walk in the light, I’ll not cause myself to stumble. If, however, I choose to walk in the darkness, I’ll fall, inflicting tremendous misery and pain upon myself.
When we dwell in the dark, we do so for a reason. It’s attractive and in it, we do find pleasure and gratification. Evil tempts us because it looks good. There’s always a painful price to pay though. God allows us to walk in the dark if we choose, but he also allows us to suffer the agonizing consequences of our actions. If we desire to enjoy the peace and life he intends, then daily, we must abandon the dark side, living in the light.