As I’ve already said–but can’t help repeating–we pay an incalculable price for our ingratitude. After decades of ministry to hurting people, I have come to believe that a failure to give thanks is at the heart of much, if not most, of the sense of gloom, despair, and despondency that is so pervasive even among believers today. I believe many of the sins that are plaguing and devastating our society can be traced back to that persistent root of unthankfulness that often goes undetected.
A grateful person is a humble person, while ingratitude reveals a proud heart.
That’s because gratitude is a revealer of the heart, not just a reporter of details. And among the things it reveals about us most is our level of humility.
Henry Ward Beecher was right when he observed, “A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.”
A grateful heart is God-centered and others-conscious, while an ungrateful person is self-centered and self-conscious.
Grateful people are loving people who seek to bless others, while ungrateful people are bent on gratifying themselves. They tend to focus on “my needs,” “my hurts,” “my feelings,” “my desires,” “how I have been treated, neglected, failed, or wounded.” An unthankful person is full of himself, seldom pausing to consider the needs and feelings of others.
People with grateful hearts are easily contented, while ungrateful people are subject to bitterness and discontent.
Ungrateful people tend to hold tightly to their rights. And when others fail to perform the way they want or expect them to, they feel justified in making demands and retaliating emotionally.
A grateful heart will be revealed and expressed by thankful words, while an unthankful heart will manifest itself in murmuring and complaining.
Thankful people are refreshing, life-giving springs, while unthankful people pull others down with them into the stagnant pools of their selfish, demanding, unhappy ways.
Nancy Wolgemuth and Joni Eareckson Tada, Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009).
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