14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world (Philippians 2).
We get our word “scoliosis” (a crooked backbone) from this word meaning “crooked” (skolios). The word “perverse” means to turn aside from what is moral. It is the exact opposite of repentance, which means to turn aside from evil. Every generation left to its own is “crooked and perverse” and in great need of “lights” to show them the truth of their crooked and perverse ways.
Yet light does not speak, it simply is. In the same way, though we surely must always be ready to speak truth (1 Peter 3:15), still, as “lights in the world,” the truth we share should be as much shown as spoken. Paul is emphasizing moral conduct here (being “blameless and innocent”), which is the opposite of “crooked and perverse.”
Weeks ago, after participating in a National Day of Prayer meeting held out on the lawn of a church, and while walking to our car, I saw a quarter and a penny lying in the parking lot. As always, my first reaction was, “Ooh, free money for me!” But as I reached down to pick up the coins I suddenly realized that there was just no way on earth I could keep those coins. For, who knows? That money may have fallen out of a child’s church offering envelope! Thus, I gladly gave the coins immediately to a church employee who was returning a bleacher just a few steps away. It was the only right thing to do, and even that employee knew it when I told him where I had gotten them. He offered no argument whatsoever for me to go ahead and keep the coins.
Lord, only You know how, whether small or great, the purity of our light might be tested today. Help us This Day to be Illuminators of that which is straight and moral. Amen.