Freedom: Living in the Light
By Laura Perry
Former transgender and contributing blogger
Recently I saw a post from a transgender who had at one time left the lifestyle but was drawn back in under Satan’s deception into that world. At first, this person seemed happy with their decision and boasted about it, shaming Christians for being intolerant. Then recently I saw a quote from them that reminded me of the truth I have to remind myself of often that those who live as transgender know the truth. This person said, “It’s better to walk with someone in the darkness than walk alone in the light.” How tragically false this is and yet I believe it’s exactly why they went back into the lifestyle. This person is willfully embracing deception to avoid the pain of feeling alone.
The road Jesus calls us to is narrow and difficult. He promises us suffering and persecution, being hated by those we love and by those in our community. He promises us blessings, peace, comfort, and joy along the way, but He doesn’t promise it will be easy. But that is also why He encourages us to be in fellowship with one another. In stark contrast to the person mentioned above who willingly stepped back into darkness for an enticing relationship, we are called to live in the light. First John 1:5-7 says:
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
“Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him” (John 11:9-10).
So, what does it mean to live in the light? Jesus Himself tells us a couple of chapters earlier:
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12).
Interestingly, this verse immediately follows His command to the woman caught in adultery (after He spared her from being stoned to death) to go and sin no more. The very next verse He says to follow Him to walk in the light.
It isn’t even true practically speaking, Scripture aside. If you are walking alone in the light, you can see where you are going. You can see obstacles ahead and navigate around them. Not only can you avoid pitfalls along the way, but you will also be encouraged as you can see the destination ahead of you. You can see where you are heading and there is comfort in that. However, in the darkness, you risk tripping or falling into a well or even falling off of a cliff. If you are walking with someone you may be comforted, but both of you may stumble or fall into the well.
We cannot be free of sin if we walk in darkness. Many professing believers appear to be walking in the light and it seems to those around them that are free. But they are hiding secrets; secrets of fantasies, pornography, and lusts of the eyes and of the flesh. The more we surround ourselves with darkness, the more we are repulsed by the light. Why? Because light expels the darkness. Abraham Hamilton III, pastor and radio host for American Family Radio says on the introduction to his show, “Darkness is not an affirmative force. It simply reoccupies the space vacated by the light.” In other words, light forces the darkness out. In order then to keep our deeds shrouded in darkness we must shut out the light.
It begins by drifting, little by little. Perhaps at first with neglecting your daily prayer and Bible study time, you stop abiding in the vine. Since Jesus is the light, if you’re not spending time with Him, you’re not close to Him, and the light is getting further away. Soon, you stop attending church regularly. You fear others finding out your secrets. Or perhaps you are still attending, but you’re not engaged with a small group whom you are accountable to. It’s easy to hide in a crowd.
James 5:16a says “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed…” If you have lived a life of darkness and deception, if you have had addictions, if you have lived in sexual sin, you desperately need other believers to keep you accountable, to encourage you, and to walk alongside you. Hebrews 10:25 commands us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves.
Here at First Stone Ministries (which I am now a part of), our experience in the ministry of sexual and relational brokenness, we have seen many go back into their old, sinful lifestyles. In most cases, they were still viewing pornography and hiding secrets from other believers. Viewing pornography (and participating in associated activities) is like climbing a rope down into a pit. The further you go, the darker it gets. And eventually, it can be extremely difficult, if not seemingly impossible, to get out. The temporary satisfaction you receive from watching it only lasts a short while and then you crave it again. Except that very soon you will find that particular type of scene no longer satisfying. In order to get the same chemical release, you need a greater stimulation than before—you need something “edgier” or more exciting.
By the time I was delivered from pornography addiction, I was so entrenched in darkness I was afraid I would be arrested. It hadn’t started there, of course. Many years earlier it had seemed innocent. I knew it was wrong, but who was I really hurting, right? The enemy pulled me in further and further into his world until I felt trapped. What finally freed me? Exposure. Since I wasn’t willing, at the time, to do it myself, God did it for me. I called customer service one day for help with my computer. As the technician took over and went to clear the browsing history, he was horrified by what he saw. I was so mortified I wanted to die. The humiliation was unbearable. I didn’t know what to say. As awful as that exposure was, I stopped watching pornography. It took a few weeks to finally get free, but that was the first giant step. It broke the veil of the fantasy world I had been living in and brought me back into the reality of the filth I was watching.
We get free of sin by confessing it, not by hiding it. Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” If you are struggling with sin and trying to get free of it in secret, you will likely fail. You hope that no one discovers the ugly stain of sin on your face under the perfect mask of Christianity you are wearing, and yet all the while underneath the mask it is rotting your flesh.
The former detranstioner now returned to transgenderism I mentioned before felt like they were walking alone in the light. This article does not presume why they were walking alone in the light. But it is to point out that if we attempt to walk alone, we are not living in the light at all. Perhaps it is casting a shadow upon us and it may look to others like we are in the light, but in reality, we are on the very fringe. We cannot stay in the muddy gray of the middle. The light will either expose us or we will retreat further into the darkness.
If you have been living in darkness in any kind of sin, I would encourage you to confess to a small group at church. While online churches have become popular, Christ intended us to meet together locally. While there may be fear of rejection, that exposure and vulnerability will actually lead you to freedom. You will often find, if those you confess to are true believers, compassion and mercy, not shame and rejection. In fact, you will likely find others are more encouraged to confess their sins as well and you will all find freedom.