After all the buzz about this year’s total solar eclipse (which will take place today around 2:44 PM EST) I did a little research. Come to find out partial solar eclipses happen 2.4 times a year. Total eclipses are a lot more rare. But I’m really not here to talk about the natural phenomenon of the moon blocking the sun’s light from earth. I want to talk about a completely different type of eclipse that happens way more regularly and is a lot more dangerous.
Being the Light or Blocking the Light?
Jesus used an interesting phrase to describe himself in John 8:12. He said, “I am the light of the world…” Of course, the physical light of our world is the sun. At another time he called his followers “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Understanding that the source of our light comes from Jesus we could say that we are like the moon. We reflect the light of Jesus.
By design, the moon reflects the sun’s light into the dark of night. However, as we will see today, when the moon gets in front of the sun the light is cut off. Similarly, we reflect the light (love and power) of Jesus into the world. Unfortunately, when followers of Jesus follow our own agendas we can actually eclipse the Light of the World. This happens way too often.
Aligning Our Orbits
How do we make sure that we are being the light and not blocking it? How do we show love in the midst of so much hatred? It’s not easy. If it were easy Jesus wouldn’t have given everything to teach us how to do it.
Here are are a few ideas to help us stay reflective.
1. Seek Conversation Not Confrontation
One of the quickest ways to get out of alignment is to pick fights in the name of Jesus. The assumption is that people who disagree with us are “completely” wrong because we are “completely” right. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Knowing Jesus shouldn’t make us know-it-alls. We can learn a lot from people who think differently than us. Also, people are more willing to listen when we speak with humility and openly seek conversation.
2. Be Quick to Listen
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
— James 1:19 NIV
This two-thousand-year-old advice from James is possibly needed more today than ever. With just a few thumb taps we can broadcast our frustrations to the world.
Remeber this: anger only unites like-minded people it never changes the minds of others. Listen first. Seek to understand second. Then speak from that understanding.
3. Be Slow to Judge
It is difficult to honestly and lovingly talk with someone that we have decided is dead wrong. Jesus was surprisingly gracious to people in their weaknesses and sins. We should be striving to be more like Him.
4. Don’t Waste Your Time With Argumentative People
Jesus said it this way: “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6).
Some people just want to fight. They are easy to spot. Stay away from them. You will not change their minds. The only outcomes are disappointment, anger and pain.
A Final Thought
To be like Jesus is to be full of grace and truth (see John 1:14). It is tempting to hold only to truth but life change comes from grace, not just truth.
How do you deal with conflict?