"Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand."
The world is blind to the light until they are shown the light. It sounds cliche, but it is true. Until they see and understand, they cannot see and understand. The church has been slow to comprehend this reality. Perhaps it is because we think that we can reach the world through our positive message and good works. Maybe we have elevated our efforts to the level of God's own ability.
Yes. We can do great things. We are well able. We can feed. We can clothe. We can definitely sing and talk. We can show care and all it takes to reach into and make an impact on the darkness that surrounds us. Still gifts from the light do not bring light of themselves. Light is brought by the Holy Spirit through the old fashioned conviction of sin.
"When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned."
While all of our doing may cause people to witness the light, without the convicting work of the Holy Spirit our works are no different than the works from the darkness itself, only ours come with a God bless you.
For our works to be light they must be the Gospel. Food is good news when you're hungry, but it is easy to eat in darkness. Thousands did so under the direct ministry of Jesus. They ate the loaves and the fish and even wanted to make Him king, the king of free loaves and fish. Such attitudes do not come from the light. Of course Jesus resisted their darkened desires and even pushed back until all but the Twelve walked away. (See John 6)
Light is hard on darkness. It penetrates and reveals. It brings one into blessing and provision, but it must first be allowed to expel the darkness. We forget that the Light of the Gospel is primarily concerned with inner darkness. Once the inner man is in the light, the outer will walk in light as well. When we are full of light, the light touches every aspect of our lives and turns all night into day. Light is after all very exclusive while being very inclusive. All in the dark may enter, but no darkness may remain.
If we are to be light to the dark we must preach the Gospel of the Kingdom which is the story and message of Jesus Christ of Nazareth who is the living son of the living God. If the world is to see the light we must show them the power and greatness of the Kingdom we preach. If our message is to remain light we must allow them to believe or to not believe and we must learn to live with their decision. If we try to shade the light so it is more acceptable to those that decide not to believe, then we have shown them only darkness. They will have not come into the light and we have only strengthened their rejection of the light. The Holy Spirit cannot work with our shading. He cannot convince anyone of guilt who has been made to think that their sin is acceptable in the light. If the Holy Spirit has no place to work, there is no light. If there is no light, there remains only darkness. Such is the reality of light.