5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:5-10
As I mentioned previously, John loves evidence and proof, the 'if this then that' mentality. Already, we see it again today in verse six: If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, (then) we lie and do not practice truth. John is opening his letter telling us a simple idea in complicated language: sometimes, what we see is what we get. If we live in the light, our lives look light and transparent. If we do not, our lives look muddled or dark, and rather like the rest of the world.
To "walk in the light" is one of those phrases that we hear over and over, yet only learn from hard experience. I entered my sophomore year of college thinking I knew all things, and it only took one semester of living with my Christ-following friends to showed me how wrong I was. I lived with people who were trying to be in the light, meaning they openly confessed their sins to one another. My roommates already knew something that I didn't: to find the "fellowship" that John refers to here means being sure of forgiveness, and therefore confident in repentance. I wanted the lightness of heart that they seemed to have, yet I was still clinging tightly to my fears and secrets, convinced that to be open and honest as they did would hurt more than the way I was currently living.
To me, living in the light means confession and repentance of our darkness. It seems to be true (and John alludes to this in the end verses) that the only way to get rid of sin is to fling open the shutters and spill light onto it, to let light in where we want to remain in hiding. This place of open doors and windows is only found through the Gospel of Jesus, because only He provides the boldness and freedom that comes from being sure of full forgiveness.
There are few things that the enemy wants more than for us to live in the darkness. He wants us to say that we are Christians, but secretly be ashamed and not speak genuinely to our believing friends about our marriage, our job, or our desires. The enemy knows that few things make a Christian relationship stronger than a relationship where there is no fear of judgement, a relationship where you are allowed to share yourself and your life as you are. The whispers of the enemy will tell us that we need to keep quiet, that our sin is too much for another person to hear, that they won't understand, or worse, that they will shun us for it.
Confessing our sins, out loud and to other believers is the evidence of us living our lives in the light, the evidence that we know God and trust his promises. John says in verse eight that "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Nothing is more hurtful than a person who is convinced that they have not sinned or wronged anyone around them, when those around them see the situation differently. I have been both people, as we all have: first the blind one, telling someone that really, it is their fault; then at a different time, the one listening, tears welling up behind my eyes with hurt from lack of acknowledgement.
John tells us that deep cleansing from our sins, deep freedom can only happen from bringing them into the light. My prayer today is that throughout these thirty days we would believe the promises of God, of forgiveness and grace so deeply that we would be unafraid to live completely in the light: gently sharing with one another the good, the bad and the ugly.