But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. (Ephesians 5:13)
People are becoming more and more invisible. Advances in the access and use of the Internet are most likely responsible for this. More and more we are communicating with friends and strangers from a vantage point of invisibility. We send emails and texts from a safe distance where no one can see us. This can be both good and bad. Bad, because we can fool people more easily if they can’t see us, but good, because the anonymity gives us a certain protection with which we can divulge what we might not tell even our closest friend. In other words, in what sounds like a contradiction in terms, invisibility can make you more visible.
This is most certainly what we have seen with the Catch. People can tell us their darkest secrets because they can’t see us and we can’t see them. We are outside the loop of their fellowship or social network of friends. For instance, we have counseled a number of pastors who don’t have places where they can reveal their weaknesses, struggles and fears. They have an image to maintain in the congregation. Ideally it shouldn’t be this way, but we understand why it is, and why we can offer a valuable service. We noticed this as soon as we started accepting prayer requests. People could ask us to pray for things in their lives they wouldn’t be free to share with their peers or friends. Same-sex attraction, former abortions, lust issues, pornography — these are some of the types of things that come out into the open.
As long as we make it a goal for more transparency with everyone, then this kind of openness is good. Ultimately we want to be open and honest people. This is what God wants for us, and what it means to walk in the light. It means to walk where the light of Christ shows us to be who we really are. Yes, the light of Christ reveals, and that’s the vulnerable — sometimes painful — part, but it also loves, forgives, cleanses, warms and comforts us. All of this is what happens when you become visible in the body of Christ.
So it’s a contradiction in terms, but it’s true, that the invisible nature of the Internet is something that can actually help people become more visible. To see each other as we really are is to walk in the light.
In the verse above, Paul goes as far as to say, “Everything that becomes visible is light.” That means that light doesn’t just show us what’s there; it is what’s there. So walking in the light is to walk in the truth about each other. And that’s liberating.