Every once in awhile (thankfully not often) I have one of those days where I see the world crumbling before me. Not my world, but the world in general, especially in the country I live in. I had an extremely discouraging trip to the supermarket the other day. Immediately upon entering, someone else was in my same path on the way out. Instead of moving aside saying excuse me, he veered quickly making nasty comments toward me as he walked by. Not the end of the world. I have thick skin and certainly don’t get my feelings hurt easily. It would have been ok if things ended there, but they didn’t. A few minutes later I asked a couple of associates for help looking for different things. In a very bothered and nasty way, they answered my question. Other people in the supermarket were being nasty to each other. This was very surprising to me. Normally people and associates at this supermarket are very friendly. My part of the U.S (Buffalo, New York) is a part that is generally friendly. We are known as the city of good neighbors, and the city often lives up to its nickname. The worst part of this experience is when I exited the store and was in the parking lot. There was a car with flags for gay pride and black lives matter. Now the only stance I will take on these topics now is that everyone has a right to express what they believe. However, what absolutely killed me is that a man was walking in the parking lot screaming and cursing continually at the people in the car. There was also a black man walking by. I was afraid that the screamer was yelling at him, and I asked that man if that was the case. He told me no, that the guy was yelling at the car. However, a minute later someone else was yelling at that black man causing him to yell back! Again, these are incidents and issues I see far less in my city than in other places.
I was feeling a wide range of emotions after this awful experience. I was shocked. I was scared that something further negative would develop as a result. What scared me more was the anger I could feel building up inside me. In fact, so much so that this extremely peaceful individual who avoids conflict at all costs was ready to argue and fight back with anyone else who decided to start trouble. Luckily, I eventually caught myself and thought logically. I decided that instead of adding to the problem I needed instead to figure out something that could solve the problem. It was then that I was reminded of a song I’ve been hearing lately, and also about something I’ve written about often. The song is a Thomas Rhett country collaboration called “Be a Light.” It talks about being a light in a dark world. It’s a beautiful song, and if you want to take a listen, here it is. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
I then reflected again on one of my favorite Bible verses which is Matthew 5:14-16 which says…
This world can be a very dark place sometimes, especially with all that is going on now with pandemics, protests, senseless shootings, and God knows what else. It is very easy to fall into a negative frame of mind as a result. However, I challenge myself and you my cherished reader to handle this darkness in a different way. Let us instead light our worlds with the light that lives in every one of us. Instead of placing it under a bushel, let us “put it on a stand and give light to everyone in the house.” My work environment is a very negative place, and yours may be too. Let us shine our light there. Will we completely take away the darkness and make everyone there happy? No, but even if we can make a difference for some, we’ve used our light in a positive way. Is your home a dark and negative place? I hope not, but if it is, shine your light brightly and be a positive inspiration. You can indeed make a big difference. Wherever you are, let your light, the one that God has given you shine. Just like a sunny day after 3 rainy ones can brighten your mood, so can a shining Godly light after days, weeks, or even years of darkness.
My supermarket experience the other day was a reminder that we don’t fight evil with evil. We don’t fight darkness with more darkness. Instead, we change darkness by turning on the light. As soon as this thought entered my mind, my emotions changed from anger and wanting to bring justice to peace. I left the supermarket quickly as I had other places to be. I most likely cannot change attitudes of prejudice and discrimination immediately, but I know I can be a Godly example and do my best to bring light to a dark world, and you can too. At first, it will make a small difference, but if we persist, we may not even realize the great positive influence we can become. We not only bring light to others, but our own worlds light up as well. Enjoy the blessings 🙂