God loves us for who we are, and so should we.We find it very easy to dwell on and think about the past. The choices we made, the actions we took and the words we have said cannot be undone. They have taken place and we must learn to live in the world that has been created as a result of those paths we took.

Yet, despite our mistakes or our darkened past, we have the right to make the future bright. We have the opportunity to embark upon a new journey, take a new path, and realize that God’s blessings continue to flow and continue to nourish and nurture us throughout our Christian and human life. Each and every day, we have a new chance, a new opportunity, and a blank slate to do something different or positive in our life.

In most of our daily encounters, we are provided the chance to decide something. A majority of the time in life we have options. That’s the beauty of living in a free country, and that’s the beauty of living with a free will.

One common theme throughout the book of John is the constant comparison and sense of imagery between light and darkness; and in essence (and black and white terms), a base of three choices. One light, one dark, and others somewhere in between, amidst the grey area. Both light and darkness are prevalent in life, and both exist in the world.

Remember, the first thing that God created when it came to creation was light. We learn in the beginning Genesis that before the world, there was a great void and darkness. God’s first recorded words in the bible were: “Let there be light.” And there was light.

One good comparison is that of a cave. If you’ve ever been on a tour of an underground cave, you know that on some of the tours the journey will eventually take you to a place that is completely pitch black—a place where no natural light has, can or will enter.

Typically lights are positioned throughout the cave so that you are not paying for a journey in darkness. Rather, it’s an opportunity to marvel at the wonder of caves and see how they are formed.

Amidst this sporadic darkness, one is reminded of how much we need light in our lives and how much it truly adds to what we know, sense, learn and feel about the world and about life. We need the light to see, to expose the darkness, and, of course, to completely eradicate it.

Whenever we emerge from darkness like that found in a cave and when we enter into full light, it typically hurts. It is hard for us to keep our eyes open, and it takes a while to get adjusted to the light once the darkness has been exposed and realized.

Our shortcomings are not enough to discourage Christ from asking us to follow Him. Christ knows we can’t take back things we have said or undo things we have done. What we can do is take a new path as followers of Christ. We can accept the light of Christ and become a beacon of light and hope to others, just as Christ was, is and commands us to be.

Certainly a life of following Christ calls us to embark upon many roads that are less traveled. They won’t always be popular, pre-paved or filled with an immense amount of artificial light. We will be confronted with an array of choices to consider when deciding which road to take.

We should think about how our choices impact not only ourselves, but also others. Maybe someone we know needs us to expose the darkness in their life, very much like Christ or someone else has done for ours.

It also is a calling to us. God can and does entrust us to care for His sheep and lambs, despite our missteps, our mistakes, our past, our poor choices, our darkness and everything about us that we see as a shortcoming.

What we must remember is that we are indeed capable of a great many things. We must remain hopeful that, throughout our journey of life, we will learn to make better decisions, to shed light on the darker areas of our lives and the lives of others, and to accept that God loves us for who we are and so should we, whether we are standing in the darkness or the light.