Whether you know it or whether you like it or not you are on display all the time. Your light is shining, whether it’s a good light or a bad one.
For example, the actions of parents are observed by their children and parents’ standards become normal for the children.
In some homes it’s normal to give God thanks before each meal and to sit together, eat politely and talk happily. In other homes there is no idea of giving God thanks or of waiting for anyone, or of eating together or at the table.
Parents shine the idea of what is ‘normal’ into the life experience of their children. When those children go to a home with a different standard they are initially surprised.
People see you and take notice of you all the time. That’s why so much emphasis is given to appearance and giving a good ‘first impression’. People not only see you but they pass judgement on you, or at least set their expectations of you, based on what they see.
If they see you angry, or disrespectful, untidy, unkempt or isolated they will come to a fixed impression of you that will be hard to undo. If they see you polite, thoughtful, attentive, well groomed, respectful and the like that will also make a lasting impression.
We are to let our godly light shine, showing our good works so people glorify God for what they see.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
It is said that what parents do in moderation their children tend to do in excess. So the things we ‘normalise’ with our actions can be quite damaging to those around us.
What is shining from your life? Do you blaspheme, or lie, or sneer? Do you get distracted by an attractive person who walks past? Are your values making a godly statement or a worldly statement?
I spoke to a men’s group recently and pointed out that they are ‘broadcasting’ all the time, like it or not, and are functioning as role models, even when they don’t want to.
As Christians, those around us take their sense of what is Christian by observing us.
In churches I have heard children object to some restriction from their parents, saying, “The pastor’s children do it, so why can’t we?” In that case the standard applied by the pastor became a benchmark for others to use to set their own standards.
So let me remind you that your light is shining, giving a godly signal or a corrupt signal to all around you.
And don’t think that by ignoring people they will ignore you. You can protest that you are your own person and it’s none of anyone’s business what you do or how you do it, but that is a ‘broadcast’ in and of itself. Your selfishness, arrogance or disregard for others is on open display and people not only see it they make a value judgement about it, whether you approve or not.
It’s not up to us to determine whether people will be allowed to see us. Their seeing of us is a given. What we do control is what we broadcast. Do we broadcast the light of God shining out of our lives? Do we do things that a godly person would do, or do we do what selfish worldly people would do?
People are supposed to see our ‘good works’ and we are not to be weary in doing the right thing, ‘well-doing’.
“Be not be weary in well doing, for in due season we will reap the benefit if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9
Have you audited your broadcasts lately? Maybe you should stop and check up on what programs you are showing to the world through your words, actions, choices, standards and attitudes.
Maybe you could ask those close to you to point out any areas where what you broadcast could give a less than godly message.
Maybe, if you are a parent, you need to audit the signals you send to your children, because all the bad and thoughtless things you do become ‘normal’ to them.
Do you want them to be like you in your speech, actions, morals, attitudes, choices, etc?
If not then it’s time to check the light you shine and be sure to shine the light that displays Christ in you and the work of God through you. May people be impressed with God when they see the Light you are Shining.