7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. 8 Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.
9 If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness.
1 John 2: 7-9
This past weekend we had an Acteens sleepover at church. The lessons all revolved around being creative and listening to the voice of God. I love the concept of art therapy and using art to tap into something deeper within ourselves. So I was ecstatic to find out the girls would be painting the image of their personal walk with God.
We hung the pictures up around the room, and each girl had the opportunity to discuss what their image meant.
“Let’s see, this is the good part of my life, and this is the black bubble of all my doubts about God. I know I’m not supposed to doubt… but I do.”
“This is where God is, and I’m on the other side. And these are the hands that are trying to pull me down into the darkness. Because I don’t feel very close to Him, and I… I just don’t know.”
“Light colors are on top, and then there are dark colors on bottom, and everything just kind of mixes together sometimes. The light colors are when I feel close, and the dark are when I feel alone or confused.”
Each girl shared her visual understanding of her personal relationship with God. Each time we heard symbolism about light and darkness. Each girl seemed to speak about the darkness of doubt, loneliness, fear, and anger.
I thought it was interesting how the darkness that creeped into every picture on the wall was seen as something “bad”. Something to be afraid of. Even worse, something to be ashamed of.
Maybe that line of darkness woven throughout each picture wasn’t so much a wall dividing us from God as much as it was the thread that bound us together. I wonder what would happen if we quit burying our questions and our doubts. What would happen if we allowed ourselves to ask the scary questions, to tell someone we felt lost, like we didn’t have a purpose, to get mad at God?
Would our fears be realized? Would we be ostracized and told we were “stupid” or “had no faith”?
Or would something else happen? Could someone say he understood? Could someone come in and help point out the light that does exist, no matter how dim?
I hope those girls learned that they aren’t as alone as they might feel sometimes. I hope I learn that, too.