Most of the time when I am at home, I prefer to sit with only one or two lights on in the house. I chalk this up to a frugal dad who constantly reminded us kids that he wasn’t “paying to light the world.” Overly dramatic, yes. However, it apparently resonated into the recesses of my subconscious. (As a side note, he was also not paying to heat or cool the outside, either, so shut the doors!)
This all came to mind the other day when my wife Suzanne made a comment while sweeping the floor. She noticed how much more the dirt shows on our floor when the morning sun floods our home. We realized it was not a Pulitzer Prize winning discovery, but it did make us both pause and think about how Scripture speaks frequently to the light exposing the dark corners of our lives (John 3:19-21, Job 24:13-17, Ephesians 5:11-14).
This all has me thinking—am I more comfortable in a dark house so my flaws aren’t seen? If I am brutally honest, I know there is some truth to this thought as I look back at my childhood when I was tortured by children in school for a very visible birth defect. But I think this is different than dwelling on past pain.
As Suzanne and I thought about it more, I was intrigued by the fact that I tell my kids to turn on the light in their rooms and that it’s not good to sit in the dark. Why the double standard? Is it just bad for their eyes to watch screens in the dark, or do I fear they are hiding something? Ultimately, we decided it was because of fear. Fear of what they have been, are, and will be exposed to in this world. The sooner I can come to the realization that they, too, have their dark rooms that don’t want to go anywhere near the light, the sooner I can begin to truly shepherd them and graciously walk with them as those rooms get exposed.
At times, we must drag our sin into the light with some kicking and screaming. It seems so much easier to hide or avoid God and the sin that we carry. The reality is that we are in bondage to the shame and guilt of our dark rooms. I can tell you from experience that once you take that first step and expose yourself to God and those close to you, freedom follows. It is no different for our children; they may come kicking and screaming, but if we meet them with a loving and grace-filled response, freedom will follow for everyone.
So what’s happening in the dark rooms in your life? What is the light trying to expose? Where do you find yourself continually pulling the blinds down? Press in to those who know you and ask these questions.
Do you wonder if your kids are sitting in their own dark rooms? I hope you do, because that is where the conversation needs to start—with you and not their friends. In the beginning, most sins are enticing, alluring, and exciting, but once sucked into a dark room, the end result is pain and shame. The good news is that you and your children do not have to walk alone.
If one of these dark rooms is pornography, we can help cast light on that during our next Straight Talk. Join me and others on Sunday, April 17 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in portable D as we discuss how people can escape the dark room of pornography. Click here to join and share the event. Click here to learn more about the Parenting Ministry at Stonebriar Community Church. You can always e-mail me or call me with any questions.
Dan Lebsack is the associate pastor of Recovery Ministries at Stonebriar Community Church. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary’s Biblical Counseling program and is also a certified Christian Sex Educator. Dan has been married to Suzanne for 15 years and together they have 12 year old twins, Evan and Emily. Dan has personally been a part of the recovery community for a number of years and unashamedly brings to light his own experience when appropriate.