What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
Curtis wrote a blog post which causes serious reflection during this time of the year when we’re supposed to show gratitude for our bounteous blessings:
Do we feel thankful this thanksgiving that we live in the USA where we are free to live without being bombed and killed? Do we feel thankful that we live in a land where we enjoy freedom the freedoms we enjoy? What a closed minded and narrow hearted nation we are. I imagine we are like the self-righteous man in Jesus’ parable, that was thankful that he was righteous, more righteous than the man behind him who was a sinner and smote his breast and wouldn’t lift up his eyes to heaven.
The misery that we have contributed to heavily in Iraq, and our attitude about it reminds me of the time Brigham Young found a man rejoicing that he had just sold an old and decrepit cow to an old lady for a very inflated price. The man was thankful that God had blessed him with such a good sale, while in reality, he had ripped the old lady off big time. Do the blessings we enjoy come in part because of the suffering of the peoples of the world?
Me thinks yes.
How do you, the reader, manage being thankful when there are so many problems (many of which our nation has directly or indirectly caused) that require our attention and necessitate our action and focus? Does a position of gratitude, while so many others are suffering, indicate an irreverent sense of pride? There is a middle ground to be sought here, I think. I can be grateful for that which I’ve been blessed with, but my thanks is not “thanks in deed” unless I am actively sharing what I have with those who don’t have it. The following hymn is a stirring reminder:
Because I have been given much, I too must give;
Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live.
I shall divide my gifts from thee, with every brother that I see
who has the need of help from me.
Because I have been blessed by thy great love, dear Lord.
I’ll share thy love again, according to Thy word.
I shall give love to those in need;
I’ll show that love by word and deed:
Thus shall my thanks be thanks in deed.
(“Because I Have Been Given Much”, Hymns, No. 219)
Jacob also had something to say about this:
And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. (Jacob 2:19)
I hope that we can all take a little time this Thanksgiving season to ask ourselves if our thanks is truly thanks “in deed”. Are we doers of the word, or just hearers? Are we imparting our substance to those that need it? I hope and pray that we all are. And even if we are, there is always room for improvement.