You hold the door open for the person behind you. They walk through, stone-faced, and say nothing.

You return something that the owner dropped. They say “Oh” and walk away, checking it out to make sure it didn’t break.

You let someone cut in front of you on the freeway. No nod, no wave, no acknowledgment.

You move over to make room for someone at lunch. They plop down in the chair next to you and start talking to the person on their other side.

Your children demand, whine, complain, and try to cajole their way onto your last nerve if they do not get what someone else got for Christmas, birthday, good grades, or simply existing, as if it were owed them.

These same offspring gobble down dinner again tonight without saying so much as a “Thanks!”

The ungrateful son is a wart on his father’s face; to leave it is a blemish, to cut it off is pain. Afghan proverb

Don’t you just hate that?

The wise man forgets insults as the ungrateful forget benefits. Chinese proverb

Few things are more insulting than ingratitude.

Ingratitude is a crime more despicable than revenge, which is only returning evil for evil, while ingratitude returns evil for good. William George Jordan

Yet few attitudes are more widespread than ingratitude.

For daily examples, look at schools and malls in Westernized culture, especially here in the United States. Is it just me, or are we suffering from an overexposure of ungratefulness?

A research project by Simon-Thomas & Smith, not too long ago, concluded that we, as Americans, may feel grateful, but are very challenged in how well or how often we actually express that gratitude.

We know we should be grateful. We know we should say Thank you. But we don’t.

A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves. Henry Ward Beecher

Maybe that’s what we should be working on: actually expressing gratitude, not holding it back.

Do not hold back anything good from those who are entitled to it when you have the power to do so. Proverbs 3:27 GW.

That means saying a heartfelt “Thank you so much!” for what others—both man and God—have done for us.

We’re not a “self-made man” or a “self-made woman.” No one advances alone for long.

Ingratitude to man is ingratitude to God. Samuel ibn Naghrela

We ought to be saying that heartfelt “Thank you” all the time, not just at Thanksgiving for a gorging fest.

As Christians who are single, it may feel a bit unnatural to feel grateful or even give thanks when we don’t have a date. Or don’t have the house we want. Or don’t have children. Or don’t have the career we thought we would have by now. Or even the ministry we thought we should have had by now. And we become disappointed. Dejected. Irritated. Weary. Guarded with God.

Outwardly, we start complaining.

Inwardly, we secretly wonder if God is some big, mean, capricious Ogre in the Sky Who’s holding out on us. (“Really. I mean it. If He really loves me, why doesn’t He give me                                 ?”)

We start counting other people’s blessings instead of our own and become ungrateful.

And Ungrateful is Ugly. Rude. Entitled. Prideful. And totally unnecessary for followers of Christ.

Three enemies of personal peace: regret over yesterday’s mistakes, anxiety over tomorrow’s problems, and ingratitude for today’s blessings. William Arthur Ward

Instead of participating in the national pastime of complaining, nitpicking, grousing, demanding, and being ungrateful, as followers of Christ, we ought to be different. Really different.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be innocent and pure as God’s perfect children, who live in a world of corrupt and sinful people. You must shine among them like stars lighting up the sky… Philippians 2:14-15 GNT

You don’t appreciate it when others are ungrateful to you for something you’ve done for others. Why would you think the Creator of the universe would feel differently?

Might this be part of being made in the image of God—wanting to be sincerely and spontaneously acknowledged, without being ostentatious, for having done something for someone?

I will admit, this is sometimes a challenge for me, if I think the other person does not deserve it. It’s very easy to feed into a negative, complaining atmosphere at work, home, or other place.

Yet which of God’s blessings did I ever deserve?

So I will continue to develop the trait of gratefulness, that elusive fruit of humility, for the rest of my life.

Who’s in, with me, on this?

As followers of Christ who are single, we have much to be thankful for.

For instance: No matter how much we think we don’t have that we should have, think of all the things you don’t have that you don’t want!

Stop for a minute and count off 5 things on your fingers you don’t have that you absolutely do not want. That should get your Hallelujah Thank You Jesus!  list off to a good start. There are many, many things I do not have that I do not want, and I am thankful to the Lord for not bringing them to me.

And you’ve probably heard the stats already, how the poorest person living off of Social Security disability benefits in America makes more money in a month than many, many families earn in a year in other countries. It doesn’t account for differences in lifestyles and national economies, but it does help give perspective.

We often fancy that we suffer from ingratitude, while in reality we suffer from self-love. Walter Savage Landor

There are so many ways to stand out positively and demonstrate the character of Christ this holiday season. Let’s make being grateful one of them.

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. William Arthur Ward

It’s a great practice to develop an attitude of gratitude the entire year, not just during the upcoming “happy holidays.” If you want fresh ideas on how to cultivate gratefulness, please read the articles in my references.

I hope this is the beginning of your becoming a bright and sparkling star against the dark backdrop of an ungrateful, entitled culture.

Happy Thanksgiving all year to you and your kin. May the joy and the glory of the season begin!

Please be sure to look for my Face book page, “For single Christians: One is a Whole Number,” for your daily dose of memes, freshly crafted specifically for single Christians, as well as others’ memes, links, and articles related to single Christian living.

 

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude. Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

REFERENCES

 

Bloom, Jon. Help to increase your Thanksgiving appetite. Article for Desiring God website 11/24/14.

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/help-to-increase-your-thanksgiving-appetite   accessed 11/19/16

 

Mercola, Joseph. Developing an attitude of gratitude can help you live a longer, happier life. Article for Mercola.com website. 11/27/14.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/11/27/thanksgiving-gratitude.aspx   accessed 11/19/16

 

Robbins, Ocean. The neuroscience of why gratitude makes us healthier. Blog for The Huffington Post 11/4/11. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/having-gratitude-_b_1073105.html   accessed 11/19/16

 

Simon-Thomas, Emiliana R. & Smith, Jeremy Adam. How grateful are Americans? Article for the Greater Good website at U.C., Berkeley. 01/10/13. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_grateful_are_americans   accessed 11/19/16

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