Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:15-16
A while back, we took in a young woman who left home and got into a bit of trouble. We agreed to let her live with us, but just as we did with our own kids, there were a few rules she had to follow. They were simple rules, only a few, based upon courtesy and respect. Unfortunately, after a few weeks, she decided those rules were too restrictive, and we had to ask her to leave. While she was living with us, we didn’t advertise her presence, we didn’t tell our friends what we were doing. It seemed to us that we would be violating her privacy as well as bragging about what we considered a ministry. As a result, we felt alone in our efforts. But, after she left, and we began sharing our grief, we found several friends from church had been doing the time thing. Quietly opening their home to the prodigals, giving them a safe place for as long as they would stay and hoping to be a positive influence in their lives. How we wished we would have known! Sometimes, being a follower of Christ can be lonely, especially when you feel called to follow Him to a place that others may not be going. We don’t call attention to ourselves and miss the support of our fellow believers. Another thing we miss is showing the world our compassion and changed lives because of what Christ has done for us. When major denominations and churches stand silent on issues that the rest of the world sees as an obvious problem, all Christians, even the ones who are quietly ministering are painted with a negative brush. I have been wrestling with my very public stand on Facebook and this blog about immigration reform and the current policies of “no tolerance.” While my friends outside the church support my posts, very few of my Christian friends do. Whether they disagree or don’t care, I don’t know, but it has caused me to think perhaps I am wrong. Maybe they know something I don’t. Maybe I am being too pushy and vocal. Then, I got the following note from a friend and former coworker: “I just wanted to thank you for being such a good person and a good example of what it means to be a Christian. I’ve lost a lot of hope in people lately, especially some ‘Christians’ I know so it is a nice reminder that good people are still a strong force in this world! Keep up the good fight!” Her words give me the courage to keep pushing for reform. Her words are also a reminder to Christians who are quietly working for justice to be vocal about their efforts. Don’t hide your light under a basket means letting the world know what Christ follower ought to be. Because the ones getting the press are giving a bad name to those of us who are lighting up our little corner of the world.