Today is Thanksgiving. Boy, am I grateful that Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday. For if he didn't, I wonder if I would ever be thankful? I would forget about doing it annually much less practicing it on a daily basis.
This week I heard that the community of Sutherland Springs, Texas was having a Thanksgiving dinner- "Feast of Sharing". The free meal was originally an event to get to know one's neighbors but this year it has become an opportunity for healing. What a witness to being thankful even in the midst of incredible grief.
Being thankful doesn't necessarily mean everything is sweetness and light. It doesn't look like a Hollywood movie. One can be thankful in the midst of deep hurt, grief, pain and adversity. There can still be hope in the middle of a pit.
The other day I heard someone talk about the difference between condemnation and conviction.
Condemnation is evil and creates absolutes in our thinking. Things are seen in terms of the superlatives always or never. We think of ourselves as always worthless or that our situation will never get better. We get stuck in that place where there is no point in trying. Condemnation pulls us down and keeps us down with no hope of getting up.
Not only is condemnation hurtful to ourselves but it is hurtful to others. There is a dismissal towards those who feel condemned or we feel should be condemned. "You are not worthwhile." Life becomes isolating for both the condemned and the accuser. There is no community. There is no opportunity for things to get better.
Confrontation is loving. It says even if what has happened through our choices or through our situations may not be good, it is not the final word. Confrontation says that this might be bad but it can get better. What has happened doesn't need to define us. There is hope for a future. There is hope for change. There is hope that this doesn't have to be.
Confrontation is loving to others. It says, you are worthwhile. You are worth the investment to help with the change. Even though there might be correction and help it is done with care in mind. "I care for you so I will lovingly help in making things better."
I am grateful for this Thanksgiving. I am grateful that even if I feel troubled in a situation, I have hope that things can get better. Click here to read my nephew's inspirational Thanksgiving message.
What about you? Where do you find yourself this Thanksgiving? Do you feel condemned or confronted in a situation or problem? How can you think about it in a way that gives you hope?