Is there such a thing as levels of good and levels of evil? Can you move in a wrong direction where you can no longer see the darkness?
"The right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better, he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping .... You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either."
The right direction might be important!
Read: Matthew 6:19-24
19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
Can you see the progression toward darkness that Jesus mentions here? He acknowledges a place the people can get where they are in deep darkness but cannot see it. In fact, they actually think that the darkness is the light (v.23).
I think Smeagol from Lord of the Rings captures this theme perfectly. His lust for the ring causes him to murder Deagol and ultimately deforms him into an ugly creature that lives in the dark.
Can we become like that? Sure we can. Consider who Jesus was talking to .... Synagogue-going Jews. These words were not reserved for the prostitutes and the drug users that lived under the bridges of His day. This was for the middle class, hard working, family raising, religious folks.
In this instance, the darkness was related to money. Jesus warned that the love of money could become a snare that introduces darkness. A blindness caused by greed.
What is the difference between a window and a mirror? Both are made of glass. But the big difference is the silver lining! One piece of glass allows me to see beyond myself and into the world. The other piece of glass only allows me to see myself. The silver lining steals the light and plunges me into a world of self and darkness. Money is a tricky business.
The right direction not only leads to peace but also to knowledge. The wrong direction leads to ever increasing darkness.
Can you identify a time in your life when you loved something too much and it created darkness? Can you relate to Lewis' comments on how the darkness slowly takes over and does not allow you to see that you are in darkness? Does that strike a healthy fear in you?
Pray that God would reveal any areas in your life that are in the wrong direction. Pray that God would help you expose the darkness and start walking in the light.
When you are getting "better" you will know it as you increasingly acknowledge that you are not good and have things to work on! Beware of the time where you think you have arrived! It might be a darker place than you realize.
DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.