Every time I have had eye surgery, even the laser surgeries, a bright light has shone into my eyes for sometimes as long as 3 hours. Is it any wonder that I come out of these procedures with an eye that is extremely light sensitive? I don’t just mean, “Ooh, that’s too bright.” I mean, “Ow, that really hurts.”
On the way home from Cincinnati after the first surgery at the Eye Institute there, the passenger seat had me sitting in the sun as it set to the west of us heading south. Even with two pairs of sunglasses, a towel, and the sun visor in the car, I could not stand the light. So Keith pulled over and put me in the back seat, right behind him on the east side of the car, and on we went down I-75, a bearded man in the front seat with his woman in the back, her head covered by a towel. It’s a wonder Homeland Security didn’t stop us.
Speaking of those sunglasses, I got to the point where I enjoyed the looks on people’s faces every time I walked into the women’s side of a rest area, whipped off my sunglasses and—voila!—there was another pair underneath them. It took months before I could go outside without two pairs of sunglasses and a cloth over the eye that had been operated on. My home was like a cave, with all the blinds drawn, and no lights on anywhere near me. “Letting my light shine” was not a metaphor I enjoyed at the moment.
A lot of people, who never had eye surgery, don’t like it when we let our lights shine. Now why is that? Jesus says that when we do so God is glorified. I really don’t think that is the problem, except perhaps for atheists who don’t want anything good to be attributed to a Being they deny so fervently.
When I was in high school I was quiet and subdued. I didn’t “preach on the street corners” so to speak. But people still noticed what I did and did not do. One of the shadiest characters in the school sat behind me in Latin class. I never knew him before that class, but somehow he knew about me. His language was usually atrocious, but if he ever slipped when I was present, he apologized immediately. When he had a problem with his girlfriend he came to me to help him write a note of apology to her. He was a year ahead of me, and I was an usher at his graduation (which I was a bit surprised he managed), but he came to me to help him fix his tie and collar before the seniors marched in. My “light” did not seem to have any ill effects on him at all. In fact, while he was around me, he behaved himself, and he relaxed because he had found someone he could trust not to hurt him or betray him.
But it does not always work that way. Why? I think maybe it’s because when your light shines, it lights up the whole area around you, and then everyone can see the faults of the others, even though you never say anything about them. Just by being good, you make others look bad. Peter tells us in 1 Pet 3:16 that people will slander you for your good behavior. No, it does not make any sense, but it’s all they can do to take the focus off their bad behavior when your light shines so brightly on them.
Don’t become too sensitive to the light. Keep on shining it. You may have some good effects, keeping others from sinning, at least while they are in your presence, and possibly down the road of time as well. Even if it causes you trouble, keep your batteries charged. If you’re going to suffer anyway, Peter adds, suffer for doing good. The Light will save you.
Jesus therefore said unto them, Yet a little while is the light among you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness overtake you not; he who walks in the darkness knows not where he is going. While you have the light, believe on the light that you may become sons of light…I am come, a light into the world, that whoever believes on me may not abide in the darkness, John 12: 35,36,46.