Today's thoughts have some darker shades but if we discuss sunlight we must also eventually mentions the shadows. People hide in them. They can gravitate toward them.
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life - is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father." - 1 John 2:15-24 ESV
Hedonism, materialism and egotism are the downfall of men everywhere. In the shadows these currents are strong and moving people in all sorts of directions.
The Apostle John is a loving man. He has the heart of a shepherd. He speaks of one future Antichrist but he is also warning people about the little antichrists that have left his assembly. People who function in the shadows and draw others into the shadows also. These antichrists swim in unbelief because they were never converted by the truth they were exposed to.
"But the righteousness based on faith says, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down) "or 'Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);" - Romans 10:6-8 ESV
I'm not saying every bitter ex-Church member was never converted. It isn't my place to say that. But a bitter person who is crusading is not one who is has a word of faith. They may be a believer who is vexed in their soul.
Either way John has some advice for his people we also need to heed. He reminds his flock to return to that first first beam of light that shined so brightly into their once dark existence. Grace is the beam that pierced the darkness. Grace always encourages faith in God and his faithfulness. If the word of grace abides then the Father and the Son abide also.
I never want to run anybody down. I don't want to function in the pettiness of running people who have left what 'I am in'. Just because someone is no longer in my group doesn't mean they have left God's group. I want to love and pray for people. At the same time I need to be aware of the shadow life of bitterness. Hedonism, materialism and egotism breed in these environments and they can ensnare our souls in unhealthy and time wasting detours from what is truly important.
The Gospel of grace is light held in a seed of words. I want to spread that seed where ever I go. I want my mind the be bathed in that light or the difficulties of living in a fallen world will exhaust me and might pull me into subtle expressions of the shadows that I had previously been released from.
God help us. There is no darkness in you. The walls between us have been removed by Your Son. Bath us in light and shine light into the hearts of the bitter people in our lives. Convert them. Revive them. Help us to be ministers of reconciliation in the places where that is possible. We love You Lord because You have been such an expert in loving us. You have made us to bear precious seed. Thank You for that privilege.