I will not go underground

This week two things were announced in the national media in South Africa. Even if you do not live in South Africa, I think you will get the point I am about to make and be able to identify. It is so ironic that it was announced in the same week. Depending on your stance, you may see a link.

Spanking

The Constitutional Court, our highest court, upheld a previous judgement that parents are not allowed to spank their children. Spanking equates to assault, and parents can be criminally prosecuted for it.

I understand that when you discipline your children, they learn to understand boundaries and discover that there are consequences to their actions that need to be considered. As a result, they grow up with a sense of security that allows them to develop fully and well.

Spanking has forever been a part of discipline in my cultural and Christian heritage. There certainly are people out there whose right to spank their children I do not wish to defend but however you view this, this ruling will change things for families in South Africa. This brings us to the second announcement this week.

Under siege

After several protests “driven by thousands of women, and particularly by young people” the president of South Africa acknowledged a “revolution in consciousness” regarding gender-based violence at an extraordinary joint sitting of parliament. President Ramaphosa acknowledged the “dark and heavy shadow across our land”, saying “the women and children of this country are under siege”.

Obviously, this is not a new problem but at last, we are ready to acknowledge that we are facing an epidemic of undisciplined, angry, bullying men who vent their anger, hatred, lusts and frustrations on those physically weaker than them.

I can hear some of you respond as you read here: ‘Those men should have been spanked as children. Then they would not do such things.’

You have a point, I think. But spanking cannot be the whole answer, can it? Children raised in healthy families with positive role models and the required discipline will turn out better than the scourge of bullies, abusers and rapists we see now, yes! And we should do everything we can to strengthen the family as a basic building brick of our society. However, this is not the point I’m making today. My point is simply this.

These are dark times!

Do you agree? Wherever you position yourself regarding the above issues, these are dark times. You may have other or more reasons, but these are dark times.

And it is good news!

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand.

Mat 5:14-15 MSG

When you sit in a brightly lit room, the torch in your hand is switched off. It would be a waste to switch it on. When the room is dark, you switch on the torch and its light changes everything. Jesus continues in verse 16:

Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Mat 5:16 MSG

During my first two years at university, I was part of a Christian group that sang the song ‘This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine’ ad nauseum. I wonder if some of them might be reading here. And I wish I could go back to that time and tell them all: We are singing about 2019. Sing it again!

Darkness cannot smother light. Darkness is good for light. It emphasises the value of light.

I’m going to limit myself to only two statements regarding light.

  1. Light does not attack the darkness. It merely shines.
  2. Darkness is not a thing that can shine or be. It is the absence of light.

Dark times are good times for the Kingdom of God! Our light shines brighter, shines further and is more needed. Let your little light shine. Or as Petra sang in 1990 on their album Beyond Belief: I won’t go underground!

Live in such a way that people will open up to God!

Here are three scriptures telling us how to do this.

This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

Joh 13:35 MSG

For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

Mat 25:35-36 NLT

May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.

Joh 17:23 NLT

Live in such a way that people will open up to God!

This is a good time, no, a GREAT time to do so!

@reonlouw

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