It is unfortunate how the air can be sucked out of a room or a dark shadow can be cast upon it, by the words and actions, or even just the presence of one person. Not only that, but it can also be very uncomfortable, and have a lingering effect, even after that person leaves the room.
Why does one bad apple have to spoil the bunch (or “the barrel” as the saying goes)?
What is it that causes us, at times, to become paralyzed, dragged down, divided, or driven away when faced with a bad apple? What is it that can cause the rest of the apples to turn to mush instead of continuing to hold true to form? What if, beyond the surface, the bad apple is not really bad at all, but rather hanging from a limb, and by a thread?
Through the eyes of faith, there is the assurance that the Light of God far outshines any darkness that might come our way. Through faith we also believe, that the mercy and compassion of God extends to all creation. What then creates an atmosphere that leads to the Spirit within being quieted or perhaps even smothered in the face of darkness?
There is a force, at every corner, that seeks to take us away from the Truth, most especially in the midst of darkness. It seeks to create confusion and gradually, or perhaps swiftly, tries to shift our focus, and convince us that we are less than what we really are. Oftentimes, when this happens, we become paralyzed, dragged down, divided, or driven away. That suppression of the Spirit, or Light, contributes to an atmosphere that fosters darkness.
Jesus says, “Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:9-10). The thief is like the bad apple, looking to steal, slaughter and destroy what he does not have or what he has lost himself; that is the ability to reflect the Light.
This is why we are called not only to meditate on and to let the Light shine brightly, no matter the circumstances, but also to pray for those who persecute us.