Less than a week ago, we celebrated a day of Thanksgiving. Like families everywhere, we gathered around our big dining room table and feasted on roast turkey and pumpkin pie as we consciously thanked God for the amazing blessings He has given. At one point, I remember wondering, “Am I dreaming this? Is it only a fantastic dream that I have grandchildren and a family of my own?”
It isn’t just on Thanksgiving Day that I find myself more grateful than words can express for the countless ways that God has been good to me when I know I don’t deserve it. Is this all a dream? Or did it really happen, that God showed Himself in so many ways, in such amazing mercy and kindness when I know I didn’t deserve it?
God has been good. So, so, so good. But without really “seeing” His grace, mercy, and forgiveness, I really don’t think I’d see His goodness. I think I’d likely still be swallowed up by the “bad” things that I see all around me– maybe fixated only on what I ‘don’t’ have.
After Thanksgiving dinner, dishes were cleaned, and we all settled down to watch C.S. Lewis’s, “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” I’d seen it before, of course, but as we watched it this time, I was very, very impacted by the scene of the very repentent Edmond standing before Aslan. Knowing what he righly deserved for having been a traitor to the White Witch, Edmond stood in silent awe. Aslan had not only forgiven him… but He had made him a king! It did not make sense, and yet, there it was.
From there, Aslan led Edmond back to his waiting siblings, and in reference to Edmond’s sin, Aslan simply said to them, “We will not speak of this again.” Forgiveness, total.
After the movie was over, our four oldest grandkids spent the rest of the day playing “Narnia.” The Indian headbands I’d given them to wear for Thanksgiving Day became their “crowns” as they fell easily into the main characters: Jakob as Peter; Raeme as Susan; Ethan as Edmond; and Sadie as Lucy while they wielded their construction paper swords, bows and arrows. But I kept pondering that scene.
On Sunday, our pastor continued his series on The Lord’s Prayer, and his emphasis this time was, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…” He differentiated various avenues to “sin”– sometimes blatant rebellion; sometimes simply missing the mark because of the distractions along the way; sometimes carelessly falling into unintended sin as a result of playing too close to the edge of it… But what he communicated through it was that all of us have sinned. As he spoke, I thought again of Edmond, who did not intentionally set out to become a traitor, but was carried into it by his lust. And of Aslan who forgave him, then instructed the rest of them that, “We won’t speak of it again.” Forgiveness, total.
I am always very, very cognizant that I did not deserve to be so blessed by God. But because of it, I’m convinced that it’s His grace, His mercy, and His kindness alone that have brought me to this place of being in His royal family… forgiven… loved… and oh, so blessed! He does not speak of my sin again, except to say “You’re forgiven.” It’s not a dream. This is reality!
Like Edmond’s siblings, it makes me want to be like Him. I know that I can only see His good, and only be truly thankful for His blessings if I forgive others as I myself have been forgiven. I woke this morning thinking of an old, old, old song we used to sing:
“Lord, help me be merciful to others,
Just as You’ve been merciful to me.
Hear me when I call,
Help me lest I fall
Into the pit from which You set me free.
Lord, I know that it was Your great mercy
That caused my blinded eyes to see.
Lord, help me be merciful to others,
Just as You’ve been merciful to me!”
The very best thing we can do to express our Thanksgiving to God for His great blessings to us goes far beyond celebrating a single day with feasting and happiness, as wonderful as that is. The best expression we can have is to passionately desire to be like Him– to forgive as we have been forgiven, and never speak of the offense again. That’s what truly opens our eyes to a spirit of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Day may be over for another year… but when we forgive as we are forgiven, Thanksgiving itself is still very much alive and well! For real.
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