catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 1, Num 6 :: 2002.11.22 — 2002.12.05


The cunning imposter

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 118:1

Watch out, because I have recently noticed an impostor lurking in the shadows of our society. However, this impostor has a following which is slowly attracting more and more people, and they are succumbing to its influences without even knowing it. Brace yourself, because this might hit you hard: You might be one of them!

The impostor I am talking about is hate, disguised as love. I know they are strong words, but I'm speaking of passivity and neutrality regarding gratitude and ingratitude. Gratitude, at its deepest core, is an expression of love to God for the gifts of goodness he lavishes on us. Conversely, ingratitude is a form of hatred because it rejects or ignores this expression of pure love. I believe there is no middle ground on this subject, but the impostor tells us differently. Just as you can't be kind-of pregnant, you can't be kind-of grateful. Either you're pregnant or not; either you are grateful or ungrateful; either you express love or hatred. When speaking in spiritual terms, you can't be indifferent in responding to love.

Impostors are cunning because they work the best in the grey areas. This is revealed to us when the heart seems not to love, but it seems not to hate either. In other words, it rejects God and the will of God while putting on the outward pretence of loving him in order to save face. When you don't respond to God's gifts of goodness and grace with true genuine gratitude but with a half-hearted attempt, you have become an impostor. See, if someone were really grateful, they couldn't be a half-hearted Christian. True thanksgiving doesn't settle for second best; genuine gratitude and hypocrisy cannot co-exist. It is like mixing water and oil.

Before pointing a finger and accusing everyone of hating his or her neighbor though, we need to take a closer look at what is involved in gratitude and thanksgiving.

Gratitude is an entire-body experience of recognizing the Love of God in all we've been given. The air we breathe is a gift of love, physical movement is a gift of grace, the ability to think is a gift of passion. Gratitude takes nothing for granted because it is a constant discovery of the gifts of God. A truly thankful person recognizes that God is good and he practically drowns us with his goodness and love. Gratitude knows of his goodness by experience, not rumour.
And this experience demands a response. If gratitude were a mere mental exercise of noting goodness and giving perfunctory thanks to God for it, then passivity would be acceptable. However since it is an experience, it demands an active response. In Hebrew, the word for thanks, thanksgiving, and gratitude gives reference to an open or extended hand in reverence and worship. Of all the parts of the physical body, the arms and hands are able to express the most visually, not saying that legs, heads, or big toes cannot express gratitude, but arms are made to move as an aid to expression. With the arms and hands, one is able to wave, clap, outstretch, bring in, hold, flail, sway, beat, capture, and the list can go on and on. For such a deep response to the immense goodness of God, the implication of gratitude as an expressive response is understandable. When we give thanks, God should almost brace himself for how it will be shown.

The impostor shows up where love does not overwhelm, where people don't recognize God's goodness. We see the impostor working among the Israelites when they turn to worship idols instead of worshipping the Giver of their freedom. We see the impostor working with the nine lepers who didn't come back and properly celebrate the good gift of healing. We see an impostor in those who speak the gospel message yet complain and argue on issues of orthodoxy. We see the impostor in those who religiously worship on Sunday yet complain of tradition or lack there-of. We see the impostor in those who take services for granted and the kindness of others to be an expected activity. The impostor exists when the good gift of salvation is lazily spoken of as another mundane fundamental truth in the religion of Christianity.

Perhaps we could be like David and run around dancing out of unmitigated joy for God's gift of victory. Or we can be like Paul and Silas, singing and praying to God despite a difficult circumstance because of God's gift of life and protection. We can strive to be like Jesus who wept blood as his intense love for his Father filled his prayers concerning his upcoming trial and death. Or we can be like Paul who couldn't thank others enough because of God's gift of love shown through support, encouragement, and prayers of the churches.

your comments

comments powered by Disqus