“I saw that wisdom is more beneficial than folly, as light is more beneficial than darkness. The wise have eyes in their head, but fools walk around in darkness.” Ecclesiastes 2:13-14
At my church, Holy Covenant United Church of Christ, this Lenten season has been focused on how the darker times in our lives are used to help spur our growth. This growth is more than just spiritual and mental growth, but there is a maturity that comes with it that is just something else. Of the groups of books in the bible, the Books of Wisdom are the books that I enjoy the most.
Philosophically the theme is very powerful, and one that I appreciate very much. Many times in the Books of Wisdom you hear the pairing of darkness with folly, but sometimes it is circumstance that brings you to these darker places. I have always been someone that thrived in the dark, but I misunderstood the meaning of that.
When I was younger I embraced darkness and dark themes because that is where I thrived. You plant the plants where they thrive best don’t you? I had thought that was where I needed to live, but again I was wrong. When preparing for a testimony a phrase was set that struck me long after the words were prepared and they were, “Find Redemption in the dark, but don’t live there.”
Those words were the inspiration for this writing. Much of my life leading to my darkest night and my ultimate fall was how I was searching for wisdom. I went to where I thrived looking for greater understandings. I found it, but knowledge and wisdom are two different things. I found much in the way of knowledge, but very little wisdom.
It wasn’t until I began to read the bible when I was wrestling with the thought of submitting to Christ that I laughed at my life. Wisdom is paired with the light and darkness with folly. This is for great reasons. The secret things that are hidden from the light are things that are trying to hide from God. If it must hide from God then there is something not right about it. The wise words that I found in the dark that set my feet to rebel against God were not true.
Many lies and twisted truths was what I continued to find. Just as I have crossed paths with many people with great intentions that their hearts and souls are not sitting exactly where God wants them. For instance Wicca, many if not most practitioners live by the code to do no harm and live to life up people with positive energy. Many of these people are some of the most kind and compassionate people that I have ever met. They are great people, but are they where God wants them to be?
I have a hard time with only one path to God, because I just don’t believe that is the case. So with that how can I believe that Wiccans are not on a path to God? I cannot say that all of them are not, but I can say that Wicca was my gateway drug to a darker world and in that world I learned a truth that was confirmed when I became a Christian. This truth is many of the pagan deities that were worshiped in past and present are demons waiting to pull you down darker roads or just keep you right where you are preventing you from embracing all that God wishes of you and thus not fulfilling God’s greatest wishes of you.
Do I see these people that fight for human rights and healing hurts as bad people? Never, on the contrary I love these people for their hearts. That much love is not something that you can ignore. On the other side of the fence we can say the same for some people that have given their heart to Christ in word, but not in deed that I do not see as good people. These people have embraced hatred and pull out their yard sticks to measure just how far away from piety you are.
Likewise, there is no way that these people are exactly where God wishes them to be. Where hatred exists love cannot. Jesus gave us the elemental commandments that all others were built from and that was summed up with Love. If God wishes us to live this way then I would certainly think that Christ would not have had such issue with the Pharisees. Those most pious were ultimately the ones that sent God himself to the cross to die.
The symbolism in that is something that cannot be ignored. Those that followed the rules the hardest and wished for those that did not to be punished the hardest attacked God himself and sent him to the cross. I wonder if anyone during the crusades caught onto that? I wonder if those seeking to wipe Muslims from the earth see this symbolism? I wonder if they realize how many atheists they create with their hate?
At the end of the day however it all boils down to sin. Sin is falling short of the mark. We all sin, we do it every single day. So how can I sit here and say these things without realizing my own faults. And what does all of this have to do with wisdom gained in the dark? Glad you asked.
It doesn’t have as much to do with the dark as it does from where the “wisdom” has come from. For a fool does not know better because they have not been enlightened to the error of their ways. The examples above I firmly believe that a twisted truth has been used to get them to hold so strongly to a lie that was whispered in the dark.
“Perfect love drives out fear,” and “darkness cannot exist where there is light,” lead me to believe that fear creates darkness and pushes you farther from love and the light. Also, if Star Wars has taught me anything it is this, Fear leads to Anger; Anger Leads to Hate; Hate leads to Suffering. These are not things that God wishes for anyone.
For anyone that has read the Screwtape Letters probably know what I’m getting at by this point in our story. As Lewis pointed out in them, the purpose of demons are to confuse and undermine God’s plans. What lie is the easiest to believe in? One that has some truth to it, a twist of truth. Well that is what we have going on each and every day and one of the reasons I had a hard time accepting the fact that being Christian doesn’t mean that you are a close minded and ignorant person.
There is so much wisdom that can be gained walking with Christ. The philosopher inside me exclaimed with glee over a passage in the bible that lead me to hours of contemplation about the depth of the passage. What could this passage mean and how does it apply to my life? How does it’s understanding help me become something more?
My own ignorance helped my descent into the dark. It was only when there was no more light, for the world had choked it all out, when I realized I was not wise and I was just a fool. Now this fool is helping others find their way to Christ, and being thanked for being a spiritual mentor. I am tempted to question if someone has picked the wrong person for the job with the question, “Didn’t you see how badly I screwed up back there? And you want me to do this job?” However, that is how we all grow in Christ. That’s what being an apostle is all about, you follow the people that found the path to Christ before you did. I want to thank everyone that has helped me along the way and for everyone that has trusted me to be a good road sign. Remember though that all I’m saying is, “I think it’s this way. Come on let’s see what is on the other side.”
“Who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool that follows him?” Ben Kenobi, Star Wars IV