I’ve tried to imagine before what someone does with “sin” if they aren’t really a believer in anything past this earthly life.
I mean, if you simply believe that you’re born, you live, and then you die-the end, then does sin really matter?
If it doesn’t then why do we care when someone commits murder or steals or is unfaithful to their spouse or lies or any other thing that causes most to think, “That’s not right.” What makes it “not right” if there is no God, no eternity. In my opinion, none of that should really matter if there isn’t Someone over us Who cares and calls us out of those kinds of lifestyles.
So, I guess before I started talking about the next chapter in the book Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy, I just felt like I had to put that out on the table as something to think about for anyone who might stop by my blog and not be a believer in Jesus or a believer in an eternal life somewhere after death. I couldn’t just begin this blog post talking about sin when there may be some who don’t believe in a God who longs to wash away all of that ugly stuff we carry around.
I think everyone of us should think long and hard about why we believe what we believe, so that when faced with questions like, “How do you know there is a God?” or “Why do you believe in something that you can’t see?” we can hopefully give some kind of answer.
And I think that if you are reading this post and are filled with doubt about who God is or why he’s allowed your life to hold the pain it holds, then you should go on a journey searching for answers………..a personal trek for more information…………don’t just look around for others to give you answers but look up and ask God to show Himself to you somehow……I believe that He will. He’s longing for you to just look up and ask. He’ll send the right people, the right words, the right books, the right life events……………He’s waiting patiently for you. I believe that.
Saying all of that, I want to share about the next chapter in Nancy’s book, “Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude.”
Truly, this chapter means nothing if you are not aware and convicted by the tiny three-letter word –
The dictionary says that synonyms for sin are 1. trespass, violation. 2. wrong, wickedness. 4. transgress.
We’ve all done something wrong, haven’t we? I know I have. More than once.
I think we have to come to a realization that we are not perfect before we can truly feel guilt for our sin. A feeling of regret for decisions we’ve made. An awakening to our need for forgiveness.
Have you ever hurt someone’s feelings and said “I’m sorry” only to be rejected with a response of “Sorry’s not enough.”
I think that’s where God offers something that many humans simply cannot. Grace.
A sense that He has freed us from all that is weighing us down. A clean slate. A fresh start. A new morning.
That’s what I think of when I read this chapter.
On the other hand, have you ever done something wrong, ask for forgiveness, and felt as if someone has truly “let it go.” Aren’t you full of gratitude in a moment like this? Just so thankful to be FREE from past mistakes!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That’s what this chapter is all about.
Being full of gratitude for a God who covers our guilt with His grace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not just looking Heavenward now and then and saying, “thank you, Lord,” when you get a good parking place at WalMart, or when a prayer is answered exactly as you have requested……….
No the gratitude Nancy is talking about runs much deeper.
It’s the kind that says “thank you, Lord,” even when you don’t understand how or why life is going the way it is but you know that, in spite of how dark the valley, YOU ARE LOVED, FREE, COVERED IN GOD’S MERCY, AND LIVING A LIFE HEADED TOWARDS ETERNITY WITH HIM.
That’s the kind of gratitude God longs for from us and the great part is this:
When we express thanksgiving in these kinds of times, guess what happens? Others are touched, blessed, inspired, and motivated to live better lives for Him and then they too begin to be full of thanksgiving for what God has done for them and the cycle goes on and on and on and on and on……………………….
Nancy compares it to the rain cycle and I love that analogy!!!
See when we are overwhelmed with gratitude, we are much more likely to reach out and bless others causing them to be thankful which then causes them to reach out. God is the direct link between us and the rest of the world and in a sense we are the direct link between God and the world. It’s really amazing if you think about it!!! I just imagine little lines of prayers of thanks going up and down all over the world from people to God almost like rays of light beaming out everywhere. The Son is our light and our thanksgiving is His light reflected back to Him.
How do you feel when one of your children complains about something after you have given so much for them………….I know how I feel. Hurt, angry, disappointed. I do not like to hear my children grumble or complain. And they know how I feel. That’s one area of life where I speak my mind clearly.
God, on a much, much larger scale, I believe, feels the same way about His children.
How dare we complain or grumble to Him or about Him after all He has done for us?????
To grow up or mature in Christ, we have to develop a deep gratitude for what God has given us and done for us.
How will we know when we are growing up???
I think we will know by the things we talk about, by the amount of complaining we get caught up in, by the amount of grumbling we allow to fall from our lips.
A thankful heart is a heart that gets it.
Believe me, if you are reading this and saying, “Tammy, I can’t be thankful after……….,” I want you to know that I understand. I really, really do.
Choosing to be thankful in the midst of not feeling like there is a reason to be is a tough choice.
But I’m writing this today from the depths of an aching heart. When you can get to the place where you can be honest and say, “God, I’m struggling to be thankful. I know You have done so much for me, but the road I am on is just too hard and I don’t feel thankful. Help me, Lord,” I promise that……………
He will cover you in grace and mercy and bless you not only for your gratitude but also for your honesty.
Try it, today.
Try to thank God in spite of what you are going through.
Just try it.
Our guilt covered in God’s grace should be enough to send us to our knees in gratitude today.
I’m heading there now,