We have a special role to play in vindicating the righteous principles of God’s laws.
Light and darkness are symbols of righteousness and sin, freedom and captivity, life and death. Jesus declares, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. And to His followers He says, “Ye are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14.
Christ’s faithful disciples throughout the ages have worked passionately to dispel darkness and shed light. Their homes and communities have been centers of influence, brimming with love and life.
For example, during the Dark Ages, Waldensian missionaries would descend from their Alpine valleys as students and merchants, risking their lives to share the gospel of hope, of freedom from superstition, guilt, and sin.
In the 18th century when the Moravian Church heard that the slaves in the West Indies had a miserable life and lacked knowledge of Christianity, they sent missionaries to improve the slaves’ conditions and share with them the gospel of Jesus Christ.1
Today, in our 21st century, many are “captive.” Estes & Weiner reported in 2001 that each year, between 100,000–300,000 children in the US are at risk of being forced into the commercial sex industry. In 2014 an estimated number of more than 29 million people worldwide were living in slavery, the greatest number in history, and approximately 15,000 people were being trafficked each year in the US for purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation.2
Beyond coerced slavery there are other types of captivity. In 2009 the World Health Organization reported that 2 billion people worldwide had problems with alcohol and 185 million abused drugs.3 One in eight Americans is addicted to something. The 10 most common addictions are alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling, shopping, sex, food, video games, the internet, and the addiction to work.4 The fact is that any selfish indulgence can enslave and destroy.
But the good news is that Jesus liberates, and He has called us “to uplift, to sweeten, the lives and characters of others by the power of a pure example united with earnest faith and love.”5 He has called us to be centers of influence, shedding light and hope to those around us!
5White, Ellen G., God’s Amazing Grace, p. 124.