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Unlike a lot of my friends, I have very few memories of my early years but I can recall that when I was a child in primary school I had a lot of trouble telling the difference between left and right. This was all very awkward when the teacher would say, "Raise your right hand" or "Turn to the left". Usually that was followed by "What's the matter with you, Robinson?! Don't you know the difference between right and left?!!"

But that's small potatoes when compared to not being able to tell the difference between right and wrong, between light and darkness, between bitter and sweet.

One of the ancient Biblical prophets, Isaiah, had some disturbing things to say to the people of his day along these lines.

"Destruction is certain for those who say that evil is good and good is evil; that dark is light and light is dark; that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. (Isaiah 5:20 NLT)

I thought of this warning recently as I read a news report concerning a spokesperson in our country for what he would call the "progressive left". I suspect he has no trouble telling the difference between progressive left and conservative right, mainly because he doesn't seem to have any 'right', only 'left'. What stood out clearly in the news report was his conviction and concern that the conservatives, given half a chance, will "lead the country back to the dark ages".  

Good grief!! Where does he think we are now?!"

I believe that he and others like him have an agenda that is leading our nation into a new dark age that they would call 'enlightenment'. There really are people in our generation who, like those of Isaiah's era, call light darkness and darkness light. There are those who claim that good is evil and evil is good. I believe that most of these people confuse the issue out of ignorance and they mean well but their direction is mistaken. Thinking they are going towards the light they are, in fact, heading into darkness and leading their followers into the same darkness.

Of course, they claim that the 'conservative right' are, in fact, the ones who call darkness light and light darkness! What would we say if, on the basis of these verses, they charge us as we have charged them? Is it possible that we are mistaken and what we consider to be light is actually darkness? How can we know for certain the true difference between light and darkness?

The answer is to be found in the results produced in the lives of those who embrace any particular philosophy - left or right. What happens to people, communities, cultures and nations when those values that claim to be light are applied to life? Is human life enriched or cheapened? Are relationships affirming or destructive? Is the freedom promised by the new enlightenment just another form of slavery? Are issues like personal responsibility and accountability given appropriate recognition? Is there a place for spirituality or is life restricted to things secular?

What is happening in all these areas as the 'progressive left' push their agenda? It is the fruit that tells the real story. Here's how Jesus explained it.

"Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really wolves that will tear you apart. You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. You don't pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles. A healthy tree produces good fruit, and an unhealthy tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced. (Matthew 7:15-20 NLT)

We live in a world (the developed world at least) which claims to be 'enlightened'. In some ways, that's a fair call. For example, there have been amazing changes and advances in the realm of technology. Knowledge is increasing dramatically as the years unfold and the availability of that knowledge is both rapid and comprehensive thanks to the Internet.

But there are other dimensions in life where darkness prevails and it seems to be increasing in intensity. Issues of morality, decency, ethics, the value of human life etc. are under great threat. Human life is getting cheaper by the day. Abortion is now an everyday event and euthanasia is headed the same way.

In our society truth is relative and falsehood is acceptable as expediency dictates. This approaching dark age ought not to surprise us. It is totally predictable. The dynamic involved has been well-explained by another Biblical writer:

"Their judgment is based on this fact: The light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. They hate the light because they want to sin in the darkness. They stay away from the light for fear their sins will be exposed and they will be punished. (John 3:19-20 NLT)

Light has come. A choice must now be made. Love darkness. Hate light. Or love light and hate darkness. When someone makes the choice to love light and becomes a Christian, some people who know them may say something like, "He/she has seen the light". That is often a dismissive comment but it contains a strong core of truth. That kind of conversion is well described as coming out of the darkness into the light. We live in a world which is held in darkness - a darkness that permeates every dimension and level of life. Yet, because we have only ever known darkness, even those who lead us are often the blind leading the blind.

When Jesus, the light of the world, comes into our lives, suddenly our eyes are opened. True enlightenment takes place. Not only have we seen the light, but we now seek to spend our lives walking in the light. The "dark ages" is where we used to live.

"For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behaviour should show it! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true". (Ephesians 5:8-9NLT)

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