3:20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.

There are more translation challenges here.

Verse 20 starts, “all who do evil”. The Greek word translated as “do” is prasso. The translation “do” is not adequate. Prasso carries much more weight than “do”. It means “to exercise”, “to practice”, “to be busy with”. The Christian life is a “practice”. It is a way of being in the world.

What we “practice”, what we are “busy with” is what our lives are taken up with. Prasso indicates the fundamental preoccupation of our lives. Prasso is what we are committed to; it is that to which we give our time, our energy and our attention.

When our lives are “committed” to “evil” (phaulo – literally “worthlessness” or “foulness”), we will hate anything that gets in the way of that commitment. When I am determined to practice that which is “worthless”, I hate anything that gets in the way of my pursuit of that upon which I have set my sights. For John the Gospel writer, that which is “worthless”, or “foul” thrives in the dark. The light is the enemy of phaulo. Phaulo is like a cockroach; it feels threatened by the light and flees as soon as its presence is exposed.

Jesus presents me here with a challenge. I can practice/pursue that which is “worthless” and “foul”, or I can prasso that which is “true”. When I am preoccupied with the “true” I will not fear my “deeds” being “clearly seen”. When my “deeds” are in tune with the light and the truth we call God and that we believe we see embodied in the life and teaching of Jesus, I have nothing to hide.

What forms of phaulo am I tempted to commit myself to?

What might my life look like if I determined to practice/pursue that which is “true” rather than that which is worthless?