We hugged the trail that wound along the jagged shore to get a better photo. The surf seethed and slap the stoney face of the land, inhaled and repeated the insult. Any boat embroiled in this melee would be kayoed by the Atlantic’s relentless smack and wallop.
When Europeans took an interest in this part of Cape Breton, they erected a stone tower and hung a lantern to shine brightly. The light so housed glared into the darkness to warn and to direct. Three other lighthouses have followed the first, each ablaze with the same purpose.
A ship’s pilot, observing the penetrating beacon had a simple choice, heed or not. For the luminance to guide and protect, the sailor had to trust the light as true and good.
The same dynamic applies to our spiritual lives. Perilous shoals lurk, trials and temptations swell and crest with threatening impact and safe channels are not evident. God gives light to warn and to direct. But to pilot our lives well we must receive his guidance as true and good.
Concerning spiritual receptivity, Jesus teaches:
33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” (Lk 11:33-36 NIV)
Jesus likens the eye to a lamp, not because it is the source of luminance, but because it is the organ by which light is perceived. However, if the eye is unhealthy, if its perceptivity is impaired, then the whole body remains in darkness. The light although aglow provides no benefit. Jesus, therefore, calls for spiritual receptivity. We must heed the light for the darkness to be dispelled.
Family sins can impair our spiritual perception. Growing up witnessing particular sinful actions and responses from older generations can set us up for emulating those same sinful choices in our own lives. Some potential family sins are greed, infidelity, prejudice, anger, deceit and addictions.
Our family’s wayward ways of copying need not cloud our perception of God’s light. Confession, submission and boundaries will excise these spiritual cataracts.
When family sins are impacting our lives, we not only want to confess the sinful behaviours to God but the underlying sin. Confession must do more than manage the symptoms of sin, it needs to acknowledge the root cause. For example, explosive anger is the sinful behaviour but we need to ask what lies underneath? Are we angry because our plans have been frustrated? Is pride the root sin?
The evil one exploits family sins, using this vulnerability as an opportunity to gain influence in our lives. Think of this influence as spiritual malware that the evil one has planted in the ‘operating system’ of our life. Submitting the infected area to the Lordship of Jesus will eradicate this spiritual virus. We renew our minds by reflecting and meditating on His truth. We want God’s script to be informing our choices.
The failings by earlier generations in a certain area should prompt us to establish careful boundaries. We need to erect guardrails to give feedback when we veer toward family sins. These boundaries are not obligatory for every believer, they are for us, to protect us from the tendency in our family to be tripped up by a certain sin.
More Than Pretty
Our coastline trek was not without its rewards. I located the vantage point, framed the lighthouse and snapped the photo. I made quaint that which had been built and rebuilt for so much more. This lighthouse did not stand on that jagged shore to look picturesque, it stood tall and shone brightly to give hope to all that would heed its beacon.
God gives us His light, in His Son, His Word and His Church to illuminate not to decorate. His light is given to dispel our darkness and enable us to find harbour in true life, abundant life.
How are you piloting your soul? Are your eyes healthy? Is there something that is impairing your spiritual perceptivity?