The Cockroach Theory

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men LIGHT a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth LIGHT unto all that are in the house. Let your LIGHT so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” — Matthew 5:14-16

Whether we want to admit it or not, we have all been “blessed” at one time or another with the presence of cockroaches. Nasty little things. We don’t like ’em.

CockroachOne reason we don’t like ’em: we perceive them as evidence of our own shortcomings. We don’t keep the kitchen clean enough– so the cockroaches show up. We don’t sweep beneath the stove– the cockroaches show up. It may or may not be true, but we think it’s true. Nasty little things. We don’t like ’em.

The second reason why we don’t like ’em has a little to do with why I compare cockroaches to corrupt politicians, thieves and other unprincipled folk– when you turn the light on, they usually run. Whether we agree with their position or not, we have less respect for the coward– the man who won’t stand up for his convictions– than for the man who does.

Cockroaches don’t like the light because it means they’ve been discovered. They’re vulnerable. It means that they can be seen for the ugly, nasty little bugs they are.

People are a lot like cockroaches, but only when they’re up to no good. An honorable man doesn’t mind when the light shines on his deeds. A truthful and honorable man doesn’t have to hide when his actions come under close scrutiny. An untrustworthy man, or someone with no backbone or principles, can’t stand the light.

When you turn the light on and the cockroach doesn’t run, what do you do? You turn on more lights, or you start making noise. If he still doesn’t run, you squish him. Like the nasty little bug he…. was.

Sometimes the “light” that causes a bad man to scurry and hide… is a good man. Sometimes it takes good people to stand for what they believe to show the cockroach for what he is — a nasty little bug.

And we all know what happens if we never turn on the light… the cockroach continues to scurry about in the darkness, spreadin’ germs and other nasty stuff. We know he’s there, and we know it’s our job to clean up the mess that allowed him to flourish in the first place.

Whether it’s in local politics, our home church or in our families, have we turned on the light?