And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. (3:19-21)
My little girl is three-years-old. Still young enough to believe that when she closes her eyes not only can she see nothing, but also no one can see her. She does it all the time when she knows she’s done something wrong and Daddy’s upset. She closes her eyes because she thinks that maybe I’ll lose track of her.
Don’t you love that?
It’s such a beautifully innocent understanding of how sight and reality work. It even has a coherent (if childish) logic to it: “If I can’t see it. It must not be there.” Being a kid means you get to believe things like that.
The problem comes when we believe it as adults. Can you imagine a person going through his adult life believing that if he closes his eyes, reality won’t be there anymore? “If I close my eyes, my frustrating boss won’t be there.” “If I close my eyes, my credit card bill will vanish.” “If I close my eyes, my mother-in-law will cease to exist—at least for a while.” Can you imagine someone like that?
The apostle John can.
A few days ago I wrote about Jesus being the light that has come into the world so that we can truly see for the first time. He is the light that has allowed us to see our sin, our need, to see the love of God, and to see that Jesus is the one who has lived and died to save us. Sadly, it says in John 3, “Light has come into the world but people loved darkness instead of light…” (v. 19).
Light brings sight. Light exposes. Light reveals what truly is. The only way you can avoid seeing when there is light is by closing your eyes. Which is exactly what we do sometimes. Did you notice what John says about why the people loved darkness instead of light? He says, “Because their deeds were evil” (v. 19).
Boy, that sounds a lot like what my beautiful little girl does sometimes. Doesn’t it? She tries to close her eyes and hide in the darkness behind her eyelids because she knows she did the wrong thing.
Sometimes we want what is evil so badly that we will close our eyes and try to pretend God isn’t there. We close our eyes and try to pretend that the truth isn’t true. We close our eyes and try to pretend that we know better than him, and that there really won’t be any consequences.
But to follow Jesus is to live with our eyes wide open.
Loving the light. Loving the truth. Believing God’s word and trusting that his will is always the best; the most pleasing; the most satisfying; the most for our good—even when it’s not easy to believe that. Jesus is the light of the world. He is real. He is true. He is there. And he alone is our highest good.