My Dear Daughters,
It’s been a sad week – and really, a sad couple of months – for our nation and world. Mass shootings, devastating hurricanes, terrorist attacks… the news – and my social media news feed – is a lot to take in. And most days, I honestly have to limit how much I do take in. The state of our surroundings, and even our own hearts sometimes, can point us toward feelings of despair. But… praise God, we don’t have to stay there, for He has made a way for us to experience hope in the face of adversity. The Lord’s love, faithfulness, and provision in difficult circumstances are repeated themes throughout the Bible.
Through trusting Jesus, even in our troubles (which should come as no shock, as He shared that we will have trouble in this world) we can step into His promise-command to “Take heart, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). But Jesus didn’t tell us to live hopeful, contented lives while quietly keeping it all to ourselves. In the sermon on the mount, he commands His disciples, and others in the crowd, to “let [their] light shine before others…” (Matthew 5):
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
I’ve been studying the sermon on the mount with some precious friends from small group. We recently had such a good discussion about salt and light and how important of a function they play in our lives. Can you imagine food without salt? Even in sweets, salt enhances the flavor. A little bit goes a long way. And we take for granted the power of light until the power goes out on a stormy night… but remember it’s power when a tiny candle’s flame or flashlight’s glow helps us to see again. Likewise, we hold great power – and great responsibility – as the “salt of the earth” and “light of the world” to fulfill our purpose to glorify God.
So, what does letting our light shine look like in this day and time of seemingly constant connection? Obviously, we can shine Jesus’ love and hope through our daily words, actions, and interactions with the people physically around us. But what about in our online presence? How can we be intentional about shining our light there as well?
A good place to start is simply by focusing on love. Love for our Lord, and love for one another – the greatest commandment. You can’t go wrong by celebrating and sharing love – and the True Source of that love, Jesus.
What might that look like? I don’t think there’s necessarily one “right” answer, and we should each pray about what we should do on a daily basis to step forward in obedience. Here are a few ideas…
- Search for the good in the world around you – what you dwell on, what you notice, you will find, whether good or bad! Cultivate, and share, an attitude of gratitude.
- Look for the helpers – Take it from Mr. Rogers… “If you’ll look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope.” Seek out stories of those selflessly helping in a tragedy. And figure out how you can come alongside them or add to the efforts to help in your own way.
- Be an encourager – There are so many hurting hearts around you. Look for needs and symptoms of hopelessness in others’ lives/posts, and as you can, be faithful to pray for, encourage, and point them back to the Truth and hope of the gospel.
- Share the Word – What is the Lord teaching you through the Bible that could encourage someone else, or point them to the Truth? The Lord promises us that when His Word goes out, it won’t return empty (Isaiah 55:10-12). Of course, we should be careful to not take isolated Bible verses out of context. But if you feel prompted to share something with someone, you should obediently do it!
There’s plenty of darkness and negativity to go around on social media, for sure, but that just means there’s all the more space for light. I pray that, as you grow in grace and truth, you are continually able to see the good, be the good, and shine your light ever more brightly – online and off.
“Let us hold unswerwingly to the hope we profess, for He who has promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
Love and Light,