“If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Matthew 6:23b (NASB).
Every morning there is a man who takes his dogs out to the backyard so they can do their business. The morning is usually very, very bright. The sun shines like a blinding white diamond flame in the clear sky and so illuminates everything as to make the things seen running into each other; the trees, the grass, and even the ground are all bathed in light. For a few seconds all is so bright, all is so white, it is hard for him to see exactly where the grass under his feet starts and the sod begins, where the trees soaring above him end and the sky begins.
It takes awhile for his eyes to adjust to the brightness of the morning sun.
When he awakes in the middle of the night, as he go towards his study or the bathroom, he bumps into the bedpost, the door, or steps on his dogs asleep on the floor. He stands besides his bed for a few moments and lets his eyes adjust to the deep darkness so he can distinguish between this and that obstacle to find the light switch on the far wall.
Yet, after turning on the lights, he is again blinded, not by the darkness, but by the light. Again, he stays in one spot for another few seconds until his eyes adjust to the light.
And he realizes that light and dark seem to have the same effect: they are both blinding, even if for a few seconds. Whether in the light or in the dark, the eyes need to adjust. Until then, one cannot tell where they are going, they cannot see what they are doing. Both darkness and light are blinding.
Jesus says, “The lamp of the body is the eye.” A man’s character is known by how clearly he sees things. Once a man “turns on” his eye, he can see where he is going, where he is heading. His whole body, being guided by eyes that are clear, is “full of light”; he can see the obstructions and either remove or avoid them. The eyes of a man guide and guard him from danger and harm and direct him to the goal.
However, if the eye is not clear, if he is unable to adjust to the light or the darkness to see clearly, he is blind. Blinded, he walks where he does not know; and, if he thinks he knows, he cannot be sure. In reality, he goes the very opposite way he intended. Rather than reaching his goal, he walks farther and farther away from it. Rather than having a clear path, he bumps and trips here and there, injuring himself beyond healing; wounding himself and he doesn’t even know he is wounded. By both the light and the dark he is blinded.
Gazing into a light of his own making, he is blinded. Yet, it is, in reality, a darkness because it is a light of his own making. He is blinded by the darkness. Blinded by being both in the the light that is dark, he cannot tell the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, wise and foolish. He will call evil good, wrong right, foolish wise. Darkness is seen as being light; light is seen as darkness. Without knowing it, the world is upside-down, inside out, and he thinks all is well.
Because his “light” is really darkness, his “light” blinds him and he does not know it. He may do some real good for others and rightly see it as good, however, at other times, he may do a real evil against another but see that also as doing good. The light blinds him like a man in the dark and he can’t tell the difference between doing good and doing evil; to him all is good and pleasing to the God whom he professes to serve.
He may read his Bible and pray in his "light". He may recount correct theology in precise terms while yet moving in the dark. He may even guide others to right behavior, to the true light while he remains in the dark and in the "light" of his own making. He cannot tell the difference for himself between those thoughts that are morally good and those that are morally evil; he cannot tell the difference between when he is doing good and when he is transgressing God’s law. Nor can he tell the difference between someone else doing what is good and another doing what is evil.
To the self-righteous, the one seeking to justify his motives and actions, his light is darkness and “how great is the darkness”!
Someone has done an evil yet claims he has done a good. He sees someone else doing what is good but since it would expose his deeds as evil, he refuses to admit it and condemns the other person's good work as an evil. He believes the one who slanders against the truth rather than believe the one who actually tells the truth . Rather than take the effort and seek the truth with eyes adjusted and clear, he remains comfortable with holding to a lie. He asserts godly faith but relies on the words of the ungodly. He defends the one whom he knows has lied in the past and abides in hatred, but condemns the other one whose life he has known to be abiding in truth and love for others.
To him, darkness is light; light is darkness.
If God would shine his light to give him a clear vision, the light would blind him like one exposed to darkness. If God would surround him in darkness, he would think he is in the light.
“If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
What recovery is there for the one who calls good evil and evil good? He mistakes the darkness he walks in for light; and the true light that others may walk in, he sees as darkness. Darkness and light are both alike to him; they both affect him in the same way: they blind him. He is deluded by a “reality” that is not real, and that which is truly a delusion he embraces as being “truly real”.
While in the dark, let the man stand still in repentance allowing God to adjust his eyes to the dark and he will see the wrong way he is headed and the direction he ought to go in to be in the light that is truly light.
If in the “light", let a man in humble stillness allow God to adjust his eyes and expose the reality of that “light” in which he walks. Only then will he be able to distinguish the false light from the true light, the shadow from the clear, the fool from the wise, the evil from the good.
In the early morning, while in his backyard with the dogs, the man allows his eyes to adjust to the gaze of the rising sunlight. After a few seconds, he can see the colorful beauty of God’s creation surrounding him. He can distinguish the green grass from the black sod, the red flowers from the bluebirds, the colorful butterfly from the orange ladybug, the towering brown and green trees from the blue cloud-filled sky, which embraces all Creation.
At night, he turns off the lights, allows his eyes to adjust to the darkness, and then he recognizes with clarity that God ordered his steps during the light of day; and in that knowledge, he finds his sleep, though surrounded by the dark, is sweet.