The Gospel according to Matthew records Jesus as saying, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.” (Matthew 6:22-23a, NRSV)
Jesus is not talking about literal “eyes”, but about the way we “see” things; our “viewpoint”. Here is an example. I once worked with a young man that would walk through a parking lot looking into every car he passed. I asked him why he was doing that, and he replied, “I’m looking to see if there is anything I might want to steal!”
On another occasion, our son’s minibike was stolen. We lived on a back-country road and only had one neighbor, and that neighbor had a reputation for theft. I went over to the neighbor’s house to ask if they had seen anything. When he answered the door, several young children poured-out of the house with him. One of the kids, perhaps 8 or 9 years old said, “I figure if somebody steals something it’s because they’re poor and they need it.”
Those viewpoints are a clear sign of darkness in the “eyes” of a person. That kind of darkness influences everything else in a person’s life. Proverbs 6:18 says: “[God hates] a heart that devises wickedness and feet that hurry to run toward badness.”
A person living in darkness does not realize they are living in darkness. They cannot see the light of Christ. To them, everything godly seems like foolishness. Those same people might say things like, “I don’t know why I can’t get a break! Nothing goes right for me! Everyone is against me!”
Remember Jesus’ words above, “… if your [intentions] are unhealthy, your whole [being] will be full of darkness.” It is difficult to work with or associate with a person living in total darkness. There are times when our only recourse is to avoid such people all together.
By associating with people of “light” we can refine our “eyes” to see greater light. Unfortunately, some people will never come out of darkness to seek the true light of Christ. Rather than give-in and go-with-the-flow, the sensible move is to spend time developing our intentions toward increasing the light in our own eyes.
I am not suggesting some empty, emotional “religious” experience, but a spiritual awakening that moves us closer to the real love of God in Christ. I am suggesting a way of “being” that centers on the goodness of God, and the goodness that is in us. I am suggesting a balanced, intentional, structured spiritual experience that can only be realized when no one else has anything to gain by it; a non-selfish approach to spirituality.
Be the light you want to see in the world, and the light will give you spiritual health.
Blessings and Peace to You All,
Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. St. Andrew's worship service is at 10 a.m., every Sunday, and broadcast on KWXC 88.9 FM at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.