Why do we practice gratitude? Why do we show kindness? Do these go hand in hand in some way? This has been a question nagging the back of my mind as we launch into November and the Thanksgiving season.
The Greatest Unkindness
Think of the gospel for a moment. God created the world, man, and women and declared everything good. Sin entered the world and humans embraced it. We rejected God and turned away from his truth. Yet God continued to pursue us.
Jesus, God himself, came to earth and ministered to the poor and rich alike. Then the greatest unkindness seen in human history unraveled. Jesus himself was brutally tortured and killed by those same people he was coming to save.
Our little selfish feelings are grains of sand in compression to the unkindness and injustice that was done to our Savior. It seems frail to say that an unkindness was done to Jesus. The entire wrath of God was poured out on him. The unkindness that we feel in this world is nothing in comparison.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—Galatians 3:13 (ESV)
Our Greatest Gift
And yet such a savage act of unkindness led to the greatest gift for you and me. Our salvation. Jesus arose from the dead and extends grace and mercy every day to the same mankind that rejects what he offers with every dark deed of selfish pursuit. Jesus is the primary reason that kindness changes everything!
We are thankful because the Lord is good! I can choose thanksgiving not because of my circumstances, attitude, or my own ‘goodness,’ but because of the graciousness, love, and forgiveness of a perfect and holy God. A God who forgives through the working and power of Jesus Christ (John 3:36). Every thankful byproduct of our heart should stem from that a perfect and holy God set us free from a life of sin and condemnation. What freedom that gives me!
Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for the cross. I show kindness to this world, not only because your Word tells me to, but because you took on the greatest unkindness ever seen for me. I show kindness to this broken world as a declaration of how loving your are. May I show gratitude and thanksgiving for all that you have done, and may that leak out to proclaim your majesty to those around me. Amen.