When I lived in New York, our house was small. It contained two bedrooms and one bathroom for a 4-member household. Overlooking the size, the house had some wonderful attributes. There were the front and back gardens and the proximity to our neighbors. Well that proximity also brought along some un-welcomed guests: Roaches.
Yeah, I know, disgusting. My parents were living in that house for 14 years before we moved to Florida but it wasn’t until our new next door neighbors moved in, five years prior, that we had to deal with the rather uncontrollable pest.
Man, if there’s one thing roaches are good at, it’s multiplying. It seemed like no matter how many traps my father set, more would appear. I’m not sure what it was about our house that attracted them. Maybe it was my mother’s amazing cooking or perhaps they just got tired of their old dwelling and wanted another clean and healthy building to inhabit.
Well, whatever the reason. The came by the hundreds.
I’ve got to give the roaches credit though. They were smart enough not to come out during the day. There was just something about the light (actually I think most are nocturnal) that causes them to run.
This happened on several occasions. But my parents, knowing that the roaches would scatter as soon as they turned on the kitchen light, were armed with cans of Raid(TM)– and shoes if necessary.
But these roaches remind me of the sin and junk that invades our once-pure hearts. Most of us have gone through the whole I’ve-sinned-but-I’ve-asked-forgiveness-and-now-I’m-clean process, right? Well if so, then we can all relate to feeling of having that darkness and filth washed away from our lives. For some of us it was a short process while for others, the cleansing took a long time.
We probably also remember how clean and pure we felt after that happened. I know I felt unstoppable. I felt like no one and nothing could get in my way, that I was this mighty and powerful warrior and then…I got next to some people who were harboring sin in their lives. Whether they spoke negatively around me, cursed, or I lost my patience. It was like a little of them had rubbed off on me and now I was stuck with these annoying spiritual insects in my heart, God’s temple (1 Cor. 6:19).
At first, I thought the spiritual roaches were manageable, but I didn’t realize that once one thing got into my heart, that the seeds were planted for more. Eventually, the little sins became big ones. The thing I didn’t realize was that God doesn’t label sins BIG or small. Sin is sin. Check out Matthew 5, it’s pretty clear.
But I didn’t get it at first, we never get it at first. We walk around being content with the roaches in our lives until we closer to the Light.
Just as turning on the light in the kitchen exposed all of the roaches and made them scatter, Jesus turns on the lights in our hearts. He is the Light that exposes all of the darkness in our lives.
Oh yeah, another thing about roaches, some of them carry disease and bacteria. Having too many of them around at once could make us sick. But when darkness meets light, all is revealed. When darkness meets light, sin cannot hide. When darkness meets light, we are set free.
“In him was life, and that life was the light of men” -John 1:4 (NIV)