You know, yesterday I got really mad at the devil. Now I don’t ordinarily spend much time thinking about him, and have trained myself to ignore most of the crap that he and his minions throw my way in the way of thoughts. (“Stinking thinking”, to borrow one of Joyce Meyer’s phrases.) I believe a lot more in the concept of telling my problems about my big God than telling God (and the world) about my big problems. I also find that the more I talk about God, the less oxygen it leaves for the problems to breathe around me.
But yesterday, I got mad because I couldn’t go visit some friends out-of-town tomorrow. I’m selling my mom’s car to a friend of hers, and so some other friends and I were going to take a road trip to deliver it. However, some small problems came up with the car that are forcing me to wait another week. I had been building up to this trip for some time now and was really looking forward to doing it on a holiday, as that would make it more special for everyone involved. But now at the very last minute…
The last two or three years have been pretty rocky for me, although the last year has seem major improvements as I’ve learned to walk with the Lord better – and more frequently. I’m making a lot of changes, and selling this car is one part of them.
So. I got mad. At the devil.
And I decided that the best way to get back at him was to give out Thanksgiving hugs.
God calls us to give thanks – not take offense. Overcome evil with good. Or, as that great line from the Bruce Cockburn song goes, “gotta kick the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight”. The Bible says, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law (of God).” (Romans 13:8)
Love and gratitude (and accepting all that God has for us) are secret weapons against anything the enemy of our souls can throw against us. It can be hard at first (and often, to be honest) – but it is very powerful and effective. It’s like spiritual jiujitsu, reversing the enemy’s power against him. Love is the way God chooses to reverse the curses over us – if only we will cooperate with him.
I don’t believe in the tired tropes of “Giving back” or “being grateful” or “just believe”. Sorry. I don’t like them because they are generic, undirected, and “universalist”. Gratitude, giving, and believing all require an object. And their object rightfully should be people and – ultimately – God. But, when we use these phrases as undirected tropes and cliches, we are acting like “the universe” or “Mother Earth” hand out things. “The universe” is not a giver – it is a gift. It has been created – it does not create. Anything we have is a gift from God, who made all things – including the universe. Even the things we work for, we work for them with a spirit and a soul and a body that God gave us.
I give thanks to God for all that he has given me (and all the people he has given me). And, when I give to someone, I do it for their benefit, not the universe’s. And I do it because I know it makes my Father God happy, and his Love is pleased when I give his love away – that’s how it multiplies.
Long story short (too late!), I’ve decided to give out Thanksgiving hugs. I started with my counselor yesterday (an easy sale), but I’m going with a friend to Waffle House tonight and we’re gonna hand them out to all takers…they can even double-dip!
SO. Don’t take offense – give out hugs! They’re free, or your money back!
Have a blessed Thanksgiving, whether your “culture” celebrates it or not. God has given you every good thing that you have, and today’s as good a day as any to give him thanks.