Ephesians 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
I have underlined almost all of Ephesians, so I consciously thought of what God might be saying to me through what was not underlined, and this verse jumped out at me. The turn of phrase in the Japanese is interesting: “Don’t join the group/become friends with the fruitless deeds of darkness.” We choose what groups we join, and we need to choose carefully. After all, who we associate with has a major influence on our lives. That said, the next phrase is particularly striking. In English it says “expose them,” in Japanese it says “bring them out into the light.” Right now we are getting a steady barrage of “deeds of darkness” in the US government and elsewhere being brought out into the light. They are indeed rotten and really stink, so some people would prefer they not be brought out, but sunlight is a very necessary disinfectant. The Bible is clear that we aren’t to be judgmental, but that doesn’t mean we are to ignore evil or allow it to operate in secret. There are some investigative reporters operating today who are very much doing the work of the Lord! In this information age there is the danger of being overwhelmed by all the evil that is being exposed, so we need to work to keep our focus on God, knowing that He will eventually bring everyone and everything to account. There is a great deal of good in the world, too! What Paul is saying is that we need to be among those who are contributing to the good, bearing much fruit for the Father’s glory, (John 15:8) rather than contributing to the “fruitless deeds of darkness.”
Some might think I have nothing to worry about here, since I am a missionary pastor and not a swindler or adulterer or thief. I do associate with such people, however, just as Jesus did, so I’ve got to be careful the influence goes from me to them, rather than vice versa. I must recognize the truth of “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” I must never be holier-than-thou, but I must nevertheless be holy. I am to speak the truth in love and be careful that forgiveness doesn’t come across as condoning. I am not to allow my silence to contribute to the continuation of evil.
Father, this isn’t an issue I tend to think about very often. Japan being a shame culture, people are very sensitive as to what is exposed, and I have hurt some people needlessly by my openness. Help me be silent when I should be, but allow the light of Your Word and Your Spirit shine through me, exposing the good for praise and the evil for correction, so that Your kingdom may come as Your will is done, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!