Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The sin of ingratitude

My daughter has a natural heart of gratitude. When I bring her teddy bear to her when she's in her crib, she responds: "Thank you mommy. Thank you."

When I give her food in her high chair she says: "Thank you mommy. Thank you."

It usually sounds like "Fank you." It is so sweet. So natural. So precious.

And I pray her heart of gratitude grows and grows throughout her life.

I am noticing this trait in Lauren lately, because I have been reading about gratitude.

Last week I got the book One Thousand Gifts from the library (thanks for the offer to read your copy Ann!). The author - Ann Voskamp - says: "Satan's sin became the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ingrateful for what God gave...... Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren't satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other."

Whew. Powerful stuff.

The sin of ingratitude...it started with Satan. Then moved into the garden.

And it's running rampant today.

It's not a sin that we talk about often. Not like lust, pride, greed, envy.

Some of those are found among the 7 Deadly Sins (or Cardinal Sins).

And they are filthy. Disgusting.

We know about those sins. We read about them. We are challenged to stay far away from them.

But ingratitude can't be a sin like those sins. 

Can it?

I've never read: "Thou shalt be thankful."

I do, however, recall reading:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

and

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18


In all circumstances.

Give thanks.


And be thankful.

So then...why am I not?

How did my heart become so full of ingratitude?

I have much to be grateful for.

So much.

But the sin of ingratitude can quietly creep in.

And take over.

And soon my heart is restless. Unsatisfied. Hungering for more than God is giving me.

And be thankful.

I came across the reading below from Beth Moore. I found it on my computer. Don't recall reading it before. Don't know where it came from. 

But it's good.

A Life of Gratitude

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-25

Today's Treasure: "Thank [God] in everything - no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks; for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). (Amplified Bible)

One way to fortify our lives from sin is to live lives of active gratitude. Dissatisfaction is a stronghold waiting to happen. An unsatisfied soul should never be ignored. Ongoing or chronic feelings of dissatisfaction are waving red flags that need to be well inspected. Such feelings may mean something vital is missing, and we need to seek God without delay.

Other times, nagging feelings of dissatisfaction can be little more than the byproduct of living in such an overindulged society. Think about it. Countless millions of dollars are spent annually by advertisers whose only goal is to convince Americans that we are not yet satisfied. Since our hearts are deceptive in their natural form, sometimes our feelings are telling us we're less satisfied than we really are.

How can we know the difference? Apply the phrase Paul supplied us: "Be thankful and give thanks." Active gratitude will cure self- or society-induced dissatisfaction. Often we know what our problem is. We even know what the remedy may be. If we're going to continue on in our sincere and pure devotion to Christ, we're going to have to start taking the medicine the Word prescribes when we're spiritually feeling under the weather.

Many times we don't have a knowledge problem; we have an obedience problem. Be thankful and give thanks. Do you hear what Paul is saying? Just trying to sit like a thankful-looking bump on a dead log won't cut it. Actively give thanks.

When I'm feeling down or a little like a brat, I often sense God speaking to my heart, "Name 'em, child." I don't even have to ask what He means. He means start naming a mere twenty or thirty of the thousands of ways He's shown His goodness to me. God has had such mercy on my life, I ought to be among the most grateful people on the earth, and that's exactly what I want to be.

God has taught me another way to actively give thanks. He has shown His goodness to me in innumerable ways through other people. I sense Him saying to me, "Give thanks to me first and foremost, but, Beth, I want you to be one of the most genuine and vocally grateful people others know. I have caused many people to show you kindness and help you accomplish your calling. Thank them continually." I am sure the same is true of your life. God is teaching me not just to be thankful for the love and support I receive from my family, my staff, my friends, and my church but to actively tell them.

If our selfish hearts are trying to trick us into feeling a false sense of dissatisfaction, a good strong dose of thanksgiving will cure what ails us! If it doesn't, we've got a more serious issue, and we must diligently seek the wisdom and remedy of God.

Spend time giving thanks to God for the spiritual and physical blessings He has given you.

Adapted from When Godly People Do Ungodly Things , by Beth Moore, pages 110-111. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2002. Used by permission.

Ingratitude.


Satan.

Adam.

Eve.

Me.

If it caused separation from God, it is certainly a sin that needs to be dealt with.

I can't do it alone. It's not about me striving to be more grateful.

It's about recognizing what God's already done.

And choosing to be grateful for it.

Because we can't accept his gift of grace without gratitude.

It's giving thanks for this miracle of life. For breathing. Laughing. Loving.

It's thanking God for tears that bring healing and hope that keeps us persevering.


It's being grateful that God can take a wayward, stubborn, independent, selfish, sinful person like me...and bring transformation to my heart and soul.

In all circumstances.

Give thanks.


And be thankful.

1 comment:

cybil said...

I found it also very helpful to hear recently that both can go parallel:
the lamenting and the thankfulness, the mourning and the gratitude...
These are two important things described in your two last posts.
Thank you
Sibylle