Bring People Out of the Darkness
“Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”” (John 8:12, HCSB)
We have two ways of relating with people. We can share with them the light or we can share with them darkness. As was the case with the woman here, all of us have difficult parts of our story that we do not want to share with others. We all have bad stuff that we know that we have done – stuff that we did in the dark.
As a result, there will come a time when people will want to get out of the dark. How will you bring light to a person’s life? How will help someone get out of the dark? How will you bring people out of the darkness? In John 8, we have two approaches to bringing people out of the dark. We can FORCE someone out of the dark, or we can LEAD them out of the dark.
People who force others out of the dark are like the Pharisees. The Pharisees saw someone acting improperly that they wanted to expose it. But when you notice the scene, you can easily that Pharisees did not truly desire to help the couple deal with their dark problem. Instead, the Pharisees wanted to use people who were having problems to test someone else, namely Jesus. You know this because they focused on the woman.
He was not going to throw stones at the woman. Yet, throwing stones is our favorite tactic to force people out of the darkness. “If you don’t change your ways, something bad is going to happen to you.” “If you don’t start changing, God’s going to get you.” Fear becomes the motivation to get out of the darkness. The problem with fear is that fear is a poor motivator. While it forces people to change, the change doesn’t last.
Jesus didn’t throw stones to get the woman out of the darkness. He did not attack who she was as a person. Jesus clearly expected her to change her behavior. Jesus can bring people out of the darkness. Yet, He appealed to her heart with the gift of forgiveness. Forgiveness, not fear was the form of motivation for this woman to change and follow Jesus into the light.
This story teaches us important lessons in bringing people out of the darkness.
- You can’t scare someone out of the darkness.
- You need to value people for who they are, not for what they have done.
- You will bring more people to Jesus when you learn to lead them, and not force them.