So we ought to do this apparently…
Yesterday I was teaching from Ephesians 5, a pretty punchy section of Paul’s letter where he gives 3 lenses for living a life of faith – love, light and wisdom, but because it can all get a bit fuzzy when we deal in abstract ideas he also gives some very specific instructions – eg, don’t get drunk, don’t allow even a hint of sexual immorality or greed.
The bit that snuck up on me this time was vv 11-12
11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
Is it just me or does our thinking instantly gravitate towards wondering who these people are and what are they doing? What are these ‘fruitless deeds of darkness’ that the ‘disobedient’ are doing in secret?
What if rather than looking around for these people we looked inward?
What if Paul is speaking to the church and challenging them (and us) to expose the dark parts of our lives – the ‘shameful’ things we do in secret.
I think that’s very possible – in fact the more I dwelt on it the more plausible it became, so that rather than calling us to be moral crusaders and to point our the flaws in others, he is calling us to acknowledge our brokenness, confess our sin (expose) and in doing so overcome the darkness.
When we bring our darkness into the light by the process of confession we remove its potency. When we allow our ‘shameful deeds’ to stay ‘secret’, then we put ourselves in a position of real vulnerability, because we con ourselves that all will be ok.
If anything is going to help us in the battle against the pervasiveness of pornography in our culture today then its going to be exposing our own failure each time it happens – bringing our darkness into the light by an act of confession – it can be as simple as a text to a trusted friend – and then moving on knowing that we don’t have ‘dark secrets’ that will one day either be exposed or will unravel us.
It takes some courage to front up to your own darkness, but the other options aren’t pretty either. Choose your form of vulnerability – either vulnerable to the wiles of the evil one, or vulnerable to a friend who can hear your confession, pray for you and encourage you to pick up and move on.