is living in the light
and is in the darkness,
It is relatively easy to adhere to and attach to the externals of religion, fitting in with a group who practice disciplines of regular worship with prayer and fasting, donating generously to good causes, and glowing in the reward of feeling virtuous. If our faith were simply a religion we could relax in such complacent comfort.
John, in his first little New Testament letter, understands that it is possible to keep all the external requirements of good religion, while still living in the darkness.
The Pharisees were often accused of this by Jesus.
Those who live in this way may have made a good and lofty ethical choice, but they are not yet living as disciples of Jesus, and they struggle to delight in the fact that in Jesus, God is with us.
It is helpful to appreciate that we all fall into this trap, splitting ourselves, our time, our energy, our hearts and our desires, between the light and the dark.
It is helpful to realise that any time we feel hate, envy or antagonism towards another, we are experiencing our capacity for maturation of faith, Put simply our anger is our darkness, and it is killing us.
Life in the light is true life and anything less is a sad compromise.
This prayer is probably the most often prayed prayer for healing from anger and resentment, known as the Fourth Step Resentment Prayer from AA.
God, Please help me
to be free of anger
and to see that the world
and its people
have dominated me.
Show me that the wrong-doing of others,
fancied or real,
has the power to actually kill me.
Help me to master my resentments
that the people who wrong me
were perhaps spiritually sick.
Please help me show those I resent
the same Tolerance, Pity and Patience
that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend.
Lord, help me to avoid retaliation or argument.
I know I can’t be helpful to all people,
but at least show me
how to take a kindly and tolerant view
of each and every one.
Thy will be done.”