Lessons Learned from my Cats

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!

gospel song of unknown orgin

You are the light of the world — like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:16

Pippin, my grumpy little tabby, adores light.   Whether it is a laser, a reflection off my watch, or simply the sun shining through the blinds, she chases it, no matter where it leads her.   She will jump high, she will land on surfaces otherwise occupied, sometimes causing great destruction in her wake…  All to try to catch the light. 

Oliver, my ginger boy, loves the light as well, but he’s far too chonky to chase it.   Instead, he seeks out a warm sunbeam and basks in it.  All. Day. Long.   Sure, he chases it too, but only in a scooching sort of way as the sunbeam slowly moves across the room. 

Cats are drawn to the light is what I’m saying.

And I dare say, the same is true of humans. 

From candles and Christmas lights, to fire pits and star gazing, we love light.   It is cozy, comforting, and can soothe our souls.

So why then do we tend to throw shade rather than cast light?

Ok, throwing shade is one of those hip new sayings (and you can tell by my use of the word “hip” that I’m probably too old to be saying it myself), but it certainly fits. 

Google’s dictionary defines “Throwing shade” as “publicly criticizing or expressing contempt for someone.”

We (that is to say Christians) use our own little catchy phrases, like “love the sinner, hate the sin”…  Which is all well and good, until we are far more vocal about our hate for the sin than our love for the sinner. 

And even “love the sinner” doesn’t sound right either, as it seems to miss the point that we are all sinners.

I guess that’s why Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God with all your soul and with all your mind, and then the second greatest command was to love your neighbor as yourself. 

He never said anything about loving your neighbor while bombarding them with your opinion on their sinful ways. 

Look, I’m not saying that we should bury our heads and pretend sin doesn’t exist.  I’m just saying that if your neighbor, family member, or friend knows more about how you feel about their choices than how you feel about them, you might not be shining as much light as you thought you were.   

If they know more about God’s punishment than His wooing heart, your light may be dim. 

If you spend more time trying to prove they are wretches than showing amazing grace, maybe it’s time to plug into God’s heart and shine from that source. 

And the thing is, this light that is nothing more than Jesus reflecting off of us, illuminates a great multitude of things.   

So much can happen when Jesus gently deals with us, as he did with the Samaritan Woman and the Woman Caught in Adultery. As He did with that wee little man, Zacchaeus. As he did with most everyone, except of course, for those Pharisees that bragged about their own righteousness. 

And sometimes, when you allow Jesus to shine through you, that sin that is revealed might just be your own.

Shine!  Get all glowy, glowy with the glory of God’s love.  It really will draw others to you…  at the very least, my cats will adore you!

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