By Dr. Jim Sulliman
If you called a friend at 3:00 am and asked “Is the sun shining?” they might think you were drunk, on drugs, or otherwise disoriented You might get a response like “Of course the sun is not shining…it’s the middle of the night…go to sleep!” Similarly, if some afternoon you were talking to another friend in another city, and they told you that the weather outside was terrible because of a ferocious storm that had moved into the area, they might be surprised to hear you say “Is the sun shining, though?” It would be likely for that friend to also be incredulous at such a seemingly ridiculous query. “Didn’t you hear what I just said?! Of course the sun is not shining, it’s pouring rain outside!” Both of your friends would be correct from a “local perspective,” but in reality they would both be wrong.
Why on earth would we ever conclude that they were in error? Because the sun is ALWAYS shining! If the sun ever stopped shining, ever stopped emitting its heat, we would freeze to death very quickly. What happens, of course, is that something gets between us and the sun from time to time and that keeps us from the sun’s life giving direct rays. Sometimes it is clouds, sometimes it is a beach umbrella, sometimes we are indoors and it is a ceiling, sometimes at night it is the earth that has rotated and is then blocking the light. Once in a while, it is even the moon that gets in the way. While there may be a great number of things that can get between us and the sun, it is NEVER the sun that is the cause of the darkness that we are experiencing. It is no different with the “Son.”
Jesus told us that “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). God is ALWAYS loving, ALWAYS forgiving, ALWAYS unifying. That makes things extremely difficult for Satan and its singular quest to cause division between us and our Creator, which can lead to death and destruction. How can evil possibly compete with such a powerful and eternal force? How can it stop God from the never-ending love and forgiveness that He gives to us? The answer, of course, is that Satan CAN’T and it knows that very well. What then, is its only other option to separate us from God? The answer is two-fold.
First, Satan has to get US to put something between us and God because God never will do that. And that “something” is sin. Indeed, a simple definition of sin would be “anything that separates us from God.” No one who understood the gravity of sin would be likely to embrace it, so Satan’s first task is to make sin look attractive and relatively harmless and hide the consequences of sin from us as we consider only the immediately perceived “benefit” of our choices. Satan never stops trying to get us to “block the light”…the only destroyer of darkness.
Secondly, once we HAVE put something between us and God, Satan must do everything it can to keep us from removing the sin in order to prevent the light from coming through to us. Evil must convince us that there is no way in the world that God could ever forgive what we have done and encourages us to put more and more things between us and God. With each additional sin, Satan tries to convince us that we are “too far gone” to turn back. It wants us to believe that we would be making a mockery of God’s love to try to take advantage of His desire to forgive what we have done. Satan wants us to stay away from confessing our sins and receiving forgiveness because of the blinding light of love that would pour into our hearts and eradicate all we have placed in its way. Satan must make its best case that OUR sin is too great for God to forgive. OUR sin is the unforgivable sin and it certainly can be if we deny the spirit of God’s love for us. Judas bought this lie, and Satan will never stop trying to make the same sale to us as well.
Our response to God’s love and forgiveness is clear…do nothing to block it, but if we do, we must remove the blockage as soon as possible by asking for and accepting His forgiveness. Jesus said “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13). Then, He died for us. Peter asks Him how many times are we to forgive and is told, in essence, there is no limit (Mt. 18:22).
The love and forgiveness that God gives to us is eternal. Even should the sun itself stop shining…the Son never will!
Submitted by James R. Sulliman, Ph.D. Individual, marriage, and family therapist in Abilene, TX. “Live life courageously.