“Why is the Meadows subdivision darker at night than it used to be?” That question gets asked a lot lately by folks who reside there in Ringgold, Georgia. Upon returning home in the evening hours after working all day or doing errands, some residents notice it when they enter the neighborhood.
However, there are some bright spots. A few folks keep their gas or electric lanterns lit above their mailboxes. But those lights are few and far between compared to the majority of residents who refuse to keep their lights burning.
What is troubling now are the reported break-ins that have been happening at night. Either cars are left unlocked or valuable items are left inside vehicles. That problem leads to the question, “How can we solve this recurring problem of vandalism?”
I love hearing that question since I live in that neighborhood. My response is: “Turn your light on.” Some of my neighbors hate my simplistic answer because they respond with, “It costs too much to keep my lantern lit.” Then we go back and forth. “That’s not correct, it cost just pennies a month.” They disagree and walk off, but every night in the winter months around six p.m. the night blankets the neighborhood. Since I am not oblivious to this problem, we also turn on our floodlights. They are located at each of the four corners of our house and they light up not only the backyard, but the front.
No, I can’t force people in the Meadows to turn on their lights, but I can turn on mine, and then offer some help or suggestions. Regardless, the darkness has to be dealt with because it’s not going away. As weird as it sounds, the Scriptures tell us that people love the darkness.
“And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” (3:19-21, NLT)
When I had the privilege of teaching Religions and Cults to teenagers for three years at a boarding school, and then adults later at churches, I frequently said the following in class: “You cannot argue anyone into the kingdom of God.” I said that because some of the students, and even adults acquired a “I’m right and they are wrong” attitude which does not shine the love of God.
Oswald Chambers said, “The only possibility of understanding the teaching of Jesus is by the light of the Spirit of God on the inside.” So as you and I turn on our spiritual lights and leave the comfort of our neighborhoods to travel the highways and byways of the real world, we must remember Who does the work. The Holy Spirit.