“What would it look like if all the goodness went away?”
This is how I try to explain hell to my kids. Yes, it’s true, the light-hearted conversation never ceases ’round the Hall family table.
What violence and terror would boldly stalk the earth if all good vanished? How cold it would be, without a shred of kindness. Who could you trust, with not one righteous? Could there be any refuge, if compassion was absent? How long would it take for the world to be ravaged and plundered, all beauty gone?
Saints, YOU are the lights that have been placed on earth to shine out goodness. Some of you might be raised up to boldly pursue evil in the darkest corners of the world, but most of us have been given breath merely to be a simple nite-light, wherever our steps take us each day.
Might I take a moment to encourage you.
It might feel like we are going to hell in a hand-basket, but we are not. There is much hand-wringing, sighing and despairing about the state of the culture we live in. We are tired and depressed, our lights turning in early, hiding anxiously under the duvet, resigned to the long, bleak winter ahead.
Snap out of it. Resigned, sighing souls cannot shine.
This world is not hell. How do I know? Because I see kindness, hear truth, witness self-sacrifice, observe the Church, the bride of Christ. Good still exists in large measures. The dark cannot engulf even one righteous soul who is shining.
Christians are a special people, the Church a special place. Not because we are better than all the rest, but because we believe The Light of the world has come to take away the sins of the world. Therefore, we are not resigned, not hardly! Our hearts burn to make things right, for earth to look more like heaven, where the lame will leap and the blind will see.
Because of this, you are now free to move about the world and shine.
That’s it. In whatever corner of the world where God has planted you, shine on.
Look at the fruit of your life. Can you see flickers of gentleness, patience, or some sparks of self-control? You are doing it! With God’s help, you are shining!
Now, go and despair no more.
Peace to you as you look for, champion, and delight in the good that prevails against hell.
Kim (here with my friend, Hannes Pieters, who shines in South Africa and Mozambique).