by Heather Bock
The other day, my oldest son brought out one of his old favorite picture books by Bill Peet: Cowardly Clyde. It’s a story of a strong horse named Clyde who is scared of even the local farm dogs. A brave knight regularly rides on Clyde’s back, and Clyde wishes the knight weren’t quite so fearless, especially when a huge ogre goes on nightly rampages through the local village, and the knight vows to dispatch the creature. Warning: spoiler alert! The story continues: Clyde has his moments of shameful cowardice, but he faces his fears, fights the ogre, and pulls him out of his dark forest into the light. What happens then? If you’ve read as many fairy tales to your children as I have, you might recognize the result. The ogre instantly disappears in a ker-puffle when he is faced with the light of day.
Why? Because, of course, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (Jn. 1:5). More than lack of comprehension, because of its very nature, darkness cannot stay in light. It’s not a fight between good and evil, like Luke and Darth dueling with their light sabers (which is a fitting analogy because I just realized the name Luke means “light-giver,” and Darth has ties with the meaning “dark”). There is no fight. When light is brought into a room, without even a split-second of struggle, darkness disappears. Isn’t this an encouraging picture of Jesus? He is the Light of the world. The darkness of sin, and even Satan himself, can’t stand a moment before Him.
Have you ever had an ogre lurking around you? Have you had a troll in control of your thoughts? I have. I’ve had ugly, menacing jealous thoughts stomping around in my brain. I’ve had other shameful thoughts slinking around in the hidden darkness. Do you have an ogre of fear hiding away, or another such monster slowly destroying your secret inner world?
Am I being melodramatic? Maybe a little, but really, it’s not that different. These types of secret sinful thoughts can grow and grow in the darkness. They feed on the darkness. I’ve experienced them taking over, causing my thoughts to circle back to them again and again. These can seem quite powerful, almost impossible to destroy. What is the answer?
Sometimes, like Clyde and the ogre in Mr. C’s book, it’s just a matter of dragging them into the light. God already knows what is in the darkness (Dan. 2:22), but still, our first action should follow David’s example in Psalm 32:5: “I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’; And You forgave the guilt of my sin.” He will! He forgives even the sin we try to hide in the shadows.
However, that’s not all. Through James, God said, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed” (Jas. 5:16). I can’t urge you enough to do this, to confess your secret sins to someone in addition to God. You don’t necessarily need to put it on social media, but you can entrust what you’ve hidden in the darkness to a godly, sensitive person who can handle the knowledge with wisdom and grace.
Remember those monsters I mentioned that lurked in my brain at one time or another? When I brought them to the Light and then to the light of a few trustworthy mentors, they disappeared with the same ker-puffle of Clyde’s ogre, never to have a hold on me again.
“Let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12), for don’t forget that if you follow Christ, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Pet. 2:9).