“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
Have you ever heard Allen Levi’s song ‘Where The People Walk Backwards?” I just love it. It is such a great metaphor for the life we live. In the song, he tells the story of a town where all the people walk around backwards everywhere they go. Because they can’t see where they are going, they trip and bump into each other and fall down. They all have bruises and scars because of how much they fall. To make things worse, there is a dangerous cliff with a lake below, and people just walk right off of the cliff because they cannot see.
Then, one day, a stranger comes to town “and to them he walked backwards.” It was so strange! But, he didn’t have any bruises or scars and he didn’t fall down. And he told them “this is how you were meant to be.” He encourages them to turn around and follow him, to walk the other way so they can see and not be afraid to fall down or walk off the cliff.
But the people were afraid to change, so he made them angry. They wouldn’t listen to him, and they drove him out of town. And they continue to stumble and fall and bump.
The last verse is so great:
But some I’ve been told heard the things he said. / You can see their footprints around the town. / They stand at the cliff with the words of the stranger: / You’ll do fine, if you’ll just turn around. / There still is a land where the people walk backwards. / They walk around backwards everywhere they go.
What a beautiful depiction of Jesus and us! Our living in sin is like walking around backwards, or walking in darkness. We can’t see where we are going. We have no direction and because of that, we stumble and bump into each other and bruise and break ourselves.
Then Jesus came to tell us to turn around, to follow Him, where he lights the way. Jesus didn’t have any bumps or bruises- he was perfect, without sin! Jesus wants to lead us in the right direction, where we don’t have to be afraid of falling. And some of us have chosen to listen, and now it is our turn to encourage others to do the same.
One of the things I love most about this analogy is that when you think about people walking forwards versus backwards, you can see the difference. The song does say that people share the words of the stranger, but before that it says that you can see their footprints.
We can be a walking example of Christ, just by showing others how we are different! Show others exactly how much better off they’ll be if they’ll just turn around! Live your life so people can see the light of Jesus!