I’ve seen a lot of friends post about their hearts hurting over the hate that seems to be running rampant in our country now. There is a lot of darkness out there, but that is why we are here – to shine the light and love of Jesus to the hurting world. He said to them, ‘Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear. Consider carefully what you hear,’ He continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.'” (Mark 4:21-25)

How useful is a lamp that doesn’t help people see? Of course we know the answer to that question. Jesus draws a connection between a lamp being properly used to illuminate what is concealed, to what His disciples were to do with that which they received from him. Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

The light of Jesus’ truth is revealed to us, not hidden. But we may not be able to see or to use all of the truth right now. Only as we put God’s teachings into practice will we understand and see more of His truth. As we obey what His Word says, He will sharpen our vision and increase our understanding.

We are responsible to use well what we have. The exact measurement of what we have is not nearly as important as how we use it. For example, we can find it easier to apply a different standard of measurement towards overlooking our own faults than to forgive the same faults in others. Jesus casts the spotlight on this human tendency when he says, “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more”Jesus taught the disciples the prayer forgive us, as we forgive others. As we generously give grace to those who have hurt us, we continue to receive the same grace — and even more!

“Consider carefully what you hear”: We should be careful not to misunderstand Jesus’s words.  Jesus is describing the nature of the hearts of those that trust in Him. We have nothing to hide from Jesus not because we are without sin, but because we trust Him to love us unconditionally and to forgive our sins–to bestow the grace He gives so generously to those who love and trust Him.

In the same way, we who trust Christ are free from the desire to measure others with the stern rod of selfishness. We know that we are measured by grace, which takes the starch out of the natural tendency to condemn others. So we are free to apply the same grace to others, to love them, to allow His light to shine brightly in this dark world. And the more we apply His Word and grace to ourselves and others, the brighter the light will shine.