Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Jesus tells us to let our light shine in a manner before people that they will notice. We are to perform good works which I interpret as works of kindness to others. Our kindnesses should be polite, considerate, generous, loving and done publicly so that people will take notice. But when they notice us, we ought to remind them that we are no better than they are; that our ability to behave in a kind manner — even when we are treated unkindly — is strictly due to the Light within us. That Light is Jesus.
If we shine properly, those who notice us will eventually realize we are not normal human beings, that something is different about us. And they will realize the difference in us is the Holy Spirit and they will glorify God.
Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
My little sons, love we not in word, neither in tongue, but in work and truth. (Wycliffe)
But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (King James Version)
Jesus says exactly the same thing as His disciple says. Jesus says that the least kindness you show to the least is a kindness you show to Him – if you visit the prisoner, you visit Jesus. If you feed the homeless man, you feed Jesus. If you adopt the orphan, you adopt our Lord. And so on.
If we talk love but never show love, then the love of God is not in us. Worse, if we talk love and show hate, then our spirit is not of the Holy Spirit but of our own corrupted nature. We are like pigs remaining in our own mud and corn husks.
God calls us to love in action, not in talk.
James warns us to cast aside “plenty of malice” for “the wrath of man” does not work “the rightwiseness of God.” Then he bluntly tells us to be “doers of the Word” so that we do not deceive ourselves. James tells us it is not enough to hear Jesus; we must follow after Him.
Presently we see a great deal of “the wrath of man” as well as “plenty of malice.” Just examine your local newspaper if you doubt this is true. The problem is that Christians are expressing this same “wrath” and “malice;” this is unfortunate as our malice and wrath do not work “the rightwiseness of God.”
We are to be doers of the Word.
1 In the beginning was the word, and the word was at God, and God was the word. [In the beginning was the word, that is, God’s Son, and the word was at God, and God was the word.]
2 This was in the beginning at God.
3 All things were made by him, and without him was made nothing [nought], that thing that was made.
4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men;
5 and the light shineth in darknesses, and [the] darknesses comprehended not it. (John 1: 1-5, WYC)
Jesus is the Word; and He is Light who shines in darkness. The darkness does not understand ( or overcome ) the Light of Love, who is Jesus.
20 for the wrath of man worketh not the rightwiseness of God.
21 For which thing cast ye away all uncleanness, and plenty of malice, and in mildness receive ye the word that is planted, that may save your souls.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Be like the Light of Love; be the Word.
Who of you wants to hear “a word that gives pain?” Wouldn’t you rather be gifted with “a gentle answer?” I bet most – if not all – of you prefer “a word” that gives comfort rather than a word that “fans the flame of resentment.”
So, before you open your mouth to speak, think about whether or not what you are going to say is kind or hurtful. And remember your mother’s – or perhaps your grandmother’s advice: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.
A gentle answer is a quarrel averted; a word that gives pain does but fan the flame of resentment.
“And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgives you. Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love.” (Ephesians 4: 32 – 5: 2)
Imitate God by being kind, compassionate, forgiving, loving. In other words, writes Paul, “walk in love” “as dearly loved children.”
What is simpler?
“Be kind and compassionate to one another.” Be tenderhearted and forgiving of one another, “for we are members one of another.” (Ephesians 4: 25, ESV) Our kindness, compassion, and ability to forgive emerges from God’s kindness, compassion and forgiveness toward us in Christ. As God forgives us, so we should forgive one another.
Jesus teaches,”Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6: 38)
Forgive another, and he is more likely to forgive you. Be kind to another, and he is more likely to be kind to you. Be compassionate and tenderhearted toward another, and he is more likely to be compassionate and tenderhearted toward you.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3: 12 – 13)
“And above all these put on love.” (Colossians 3: 14) Love “binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3: 14)