Read Matthew 5:13-16
13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (THE MESSAGE)
If we are honest, Christians have a mixed record when it comes to being salt and light to the world. We are sometimes part of the problem rather than the solution. Then again, we can beat ourselves up excessively and not recognise the many and varied blessings true Christianity has brought to the world.
Despite what some vocal atheists say, not all violence and corruption springs from the Christian faith—or other religious faiths either. The terrible evils of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Mao’s China, or Pol Pot and Cambodia, can’t be traced back to followers of Jesus.
The writer John Dickson uses a helpful analogy. A Bach Cello Suite may be a wonderful composition, but to hear a novice cellist play it might sound like a lot of shrieking noise. The issue is with the performance rather than the composition itself. Jesus himself wrote a beautiful tune even if Christians haven’t always sung the tune well.
We need to neither overstate nor understate our record as ‘salt and light’. True, we haven’t always sung in tune with Jesus, but when we have it has made a significant difference to human society. We neither get carried away with proud boasting nor sink in a swamp of self-loathing.