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It’s (almost) THANKSGIVING
- We appreciate food, and housing, clothes, and transportation.
- We prize friends.
- We are very grateful for family.
- We live by faith and fellowship.
We feel – and express – thankfulness for many wonderful blessings.
But there are some things we should not be thankful for!
I expect we can each make a pretty impressive list.
The confusing thing is that some believers think they will offend God if they are not thankful for EVERYthing. I believe that is wrong.
Should we really thank God for abuse and murder of women and children, and men? For cops or “the system” being dishonest or people encouraging them to be dishonest? For cancers? For damaging or fatal accidents? For the intense marketing of unhealthy foods and of dangerous eating habits? For war? For dishonesty in political candidates and campaigns?
Giving thanks for such things is wrong because
- it implies I am glad they exist, but I am not;
- it implies that God caused them, but God did not;
- it implies that God wants credit for such things, but that is insulting to God.
God is not the author of evil. I do not thank God for such things!
But there is very much to be thankful for.
The things to not be thankful for make a long and very unpleasant list. However, I THANK GOD that Christ, the Gospel, and the Prophets face such things head on. One reason to NOT give thanks for bad things is that Jesus devoted his life to opposing such things. We ourselves also are called to NOT approve of such things, and in fact to work against them. But what if – as is often the case – there is nothing I personally can do against them? Do I just surrender?
Give thanks IN all things.
We should work always to see and approve of the GOOD that is present in people, actions, events – whatever our circumstances or those of other people. It’s a difficult project sometimes, but it puts us on the side of GOOD, even when we feel powerless against the evil. We are thus seeing and approving of GOOD, and making clear to God (and ourselves, and maybe other people) how we feel. That’s very different from giving thanks FOR all things.
I may be deeply offended by, and resist however I can, evil events or behaviors.
But we have to stay aware that God also – far more than we are – is offended, and resisting. And as the Bible says, “’Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Let God handle that part.
When I give thanks for all that I see to be GOOD, but do not pretend to approve of what is evil or destructive, and do not act like vengeance is MINE, then I am standing with the Good News of Jesus – that he has come into the sinful world to be with sinners, to love and serve sinners (us) and bring much more GOOD into this human experience.
We can always give deep and strong thanksgiving for that!