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Redeeming the Grinch Heart

Deuteronomy 15:11
“For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’”

Do you recall that redemptive scene from Dr. Suess’ beloved classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas where the Grinch rescues that sleigh full of gifts from toppling over Mt. Crumpet and his heart grows three sizes as a result? We all applaud the moment when, upon being transformed, he rushes down the mountain to return the gifts to their owners, confesses his crime, gets welcomed and forgiven by the Who’s, and then sits at the seat of honor to cut the roast beast for their communal Christmas feast. Stories like that continue to inspire new adaptations and fresh dramatizations every year because we not only universally agree with the moral of the tale, but because we see in the Grinch’s shriveled-up but still-redeemable heart a representation of our own. Fictional metamorphoses like his give us renewed hope that we, too, by God’s grace, can overcome our selfishness and miserliness and closed- handedness with renewed benevolence. If a great grinch can become a great giver, so can we.

But think of it, friend: aren’t you so glad that there isn’t any hint of grinchiness in God? “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest!”, He calls out! Not from a high ridge looking down with a scowl or a sneer, but from our very midst, with an arm around our shoulders, down on the ground washing our feet even. So rich is the compassion of our Lord, so poor is His spirit, that He drapes us in the raiment of divine riches while making Himself utterly destitute by the transaction. Have our hearts not grown three sizes by His Passion? Are we not bursting with His self-sacrificing benevolence toward others in need? Is it possible that we who’ve been washed by so great a flood of heavenly blessing could dam it up only for ourselves? May it never be!

Mark this, friend: if we aren’t burdened for those in need today, and if we aren’t rushing to give aid, we aren’t much like our Savior, are we?