Author: Joyce Yearsley
My grandchildren love “The Incredibles”. In fact, they wanted “Incredibles” costumes for their school parade last fall. Near the beginning of the movie, we learn that the reason all of the “Supers”, the Incredibles, FroZone and the others had to give up the superhero life is because they kept getting sued. It started with Mr. Incredible. He saved someone, who promptly sued him. Then an entire trainload of people whom he saved from disaster sued him. So all the “Supers” had to leave behind their super lives and go lead normal lives.
If all that ingratitude would stay in the cartoon, it would be fine. But the movie is just a picture of human nature. We are by nature pretty ungrateful people. In fact, the Apostle Paul listed ungratefulness as part of our fall into total depravity (Romans 1:21). Psychology has proven that if you leave a child mostly on his own, he will learn to feed himself, walk, talk and even entertain himself. However he will not become grateful. That is one of the characteristics that has to be purposefully taught to children. If it is not consistently taught and modeled, it won’t happen.
It isn’t just our current culture. Gospel writer Luke tells us about an episode where Jesus healed ten men who were lepers (Luke 17:11-19). As they were going to show themselves to the local priest, as Jesus had commanded them, they were miraculously healed. But only one of the ten ran back and fell down at Jesus’ feet to thank Him for healing him. Jesus rightly asked, “Where are the other nine?”
Believers are encouraged, even commanded to be grateful new creations (Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:15-16). And because of the Spirit’s power working within us, we have the capacity to be grateful. Yet we still often forget. If you struggle with ungratefulness, try one of the following exercises:
--pray a one sentence prayer every morning, thanking the Lord for what He has done for you.
--keep a “gratitude” journal. Try to write something in it every day.
--in the midst of affliction, look for something you can still thank God for.
What happens when we become grateful people? First, God’s name is honored and glorified. Second, we are transformed from me-centered people into Christ-centered people, and the Holy Spirit is able to use us to a greater capacity because our perspective has changed. Third, we actually become more joyful, happier people.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”