Grow in Light
What are we growing on the inside? Is love and purity growing? Or is darkness oozing out? More importantly, what do our actions betray about what is in our core?
The mature person has learned that, without attention, what comes out of our mouths can often be insensitive and cruel. Are we surprised to find slander and malice, sarcasm and ignorance, hatred and violence in our words? If we’re honest with ourselves, I think we should not be surprised. It is the mature person who thinks first, considers another, and then speaks; precisely because we have learned of the darkness lurking inside. And it is the mature person who understands that the battle for civility, courtesy, and love is fought in the heart, mind, and soul.
It should be clear that brackish water only flows from polluted wells. Why would you need to put a filter on a river that was already clean? Even our maturity betrays us: evil is at hand because our souls have been darkened by disease. Be wary of what comes out!
So it is of no surprise that the battle for wisdom and virtue has been raging for as long as we’ve had the writing to record it. Consider a few proverbs, created to help train young leaders (all NIV version):
The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them. (Proverbs 12:6)
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. (Proverbs 18:8)
These words were as needed to train people of antiquity as they are today. And yet, who will allow these words to be read in our schools? Are we not seeing the great need for teaching that goes beyond ‘academics’ and reaches our souls?
If we want to be free of ‘mean tweets’, cyberbullying and all manner of unwarranted violence (whether online or in the physical world), we must be willing to admit their source: us. We are neither the worst we could be nor the best we want to be. But we must be willing to admit our own darkness and look for truth and compassion.
It seems that, as humans, we are going to be controlled by one of two things: external fear or internalized truth. If we become virtuous (having internalized truth until it forms our souls and thus our words) then we have no need of controlling fear. If we refuse to be formed by what is true and good, then we will have ever greater need for calling upon those in power to restrain the evil we pour out on each other. I have a quote from Benjamin Franklin on the wall of my classroom that I think is profound: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” This, I think, points us to the core of the problems with technology: the problem is not the technology and their governance, it is the users.
What I am suggesting is that one needs a cure for the cancer in our souls. No amount of governmental regulations will remove it. No social campaign will quiet it for long. No clever motto or program will vanquish it. No attempt at trying hard enough to filter our own tongues will kill it.
And, when cured, there is no need for an overzealous government. We would push it away. A people who find freedom on the inside will demand freedom on the outside. And even a little light does great work against darkness!
So it is the direction of our growth, as a society at large and as individuals, that is of the utmost importance. What are you allowing to grow on the inside of you? What are you expressing online? What comes out of you when the pressure is on and you’re blood-sugar is low? If it isn’t good, it’s time to do some surgery! It’s time to remove the darkness and grow something good!
If that sounds like something you’d like to talk more about, it would be great to connect! Leave a comment, or send me an e-mail. This soul cancer requires surgery! Don’t wait! Call now! It’s terminal! Don’t worry about the cost…it requires a physician no amount of money can buy. But I have found a physician whose skill is unmatched and medicine surprisingly effective when used as directed. I’d love to introduce you to him.