I do a lot of complaining; far more than I should.
I don't mean "complaining" in the sense of writing essays critical of certain ideologies, actions, or behavior. There's a rather large distinction to be made between critical, reasoned thought and discontented complaining. The former is something we all should do regularly in order to embrace what is good and shun what is evil. The latter is the manifestation of a dangerous, soul-eating self-centeredness that far too many of us indulge regularly.
- It's the prideful belief that we are always overworked and underpaid.
- It's the envious conclusion that we'd be on easy street if we'd have gotten the breaks that "those people" got.
- It's the dissatisfied conviction that we are entitled to the resources, capital, affection, or blessings of another.
- It's the arrogant certainty that my way always seems to be the right way.
- It's the dehumanizing condescension exhibited when we determine investing in another person is an unproductive use of our time.
I battle those demons of human nature just like everyone else, and as a Christian, I desperately want to defeat them. Unsurprisingly, in His divine providence, God has provided me the tool to do exactly that. It's the very spirit we celebrate today – gratitude and thankfulness. Gratitude is the antithesis of complaint; thankfulness the antidote to our seemingly perpetual cultural mindset of grievance.
A grateful heart is one that sees through the eyes of faith the blessings God has poured out on others, and then praises Him for it, rather than curses Him for not giving it to us instead. A thankful soul is one whose perspective is calibrated on eternal things, and therefore recognizes the unfathomable privilege God has gifted to all who follow Him.
That's why this Thanksgiving, I am refusing to deny my Christian privilege.
I know that word privilege has been hijacked and wielded as a weapon by campus multiculturalists who themselves make a handsome living off of grievance-mongering. But the truth is that this privilege I'm embracing is enjoyed regardless of skin color, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, material possessions, or country of origin.
The source of this incalculable privilege is that, "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Because of that substitutionary sacrifice alone, believers are privileged to join as heirs in a Kingdom that was not ours and that we have done absolutely nothing to earn. We have been gifted paradise the likes of which no mind can even conceive. Bestowed upon us are the riches of eternal glory, a home where there is no more suffering, no more pain, no more sorrow, no more tears. And none of it — absolutely none of it — came as a result of our own merit. That's privilege.
Why am I thankful this day? Because of the knowledge that one day I, like every other human being on this planet, will stand accused before the God of eternity. I will be asked to give an account to Him for the deeds that I have done in the life I have lived. As all my righteousness appears as filthy rags in light of the brilliance and glory that surrounds His throne, I will be privileged enough to lay prostrate before Him, plead no contest, and say, "Father I am unworthy to be in your presence." And at that precise moment, as Jesus steps forward I will rise to my feet, take His nail-scarred hand and say, "But I'm with Him. I come at His invitation."
That's my privilege. It's the privilege of every believer. It's the undiscriminating privilege available to anyone who wants to embrace it. And for those who do, you'll understand why I say I have so much to be thankful for this day, and every day.