Ingratitude is the norm. Gratitude is the exception

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From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 3 – Cultivate the attitude of thankfulness until it is a habit

We are selfish due to our sinful, flesh nature. Therefore the norm is for us to be ungrateful. Gratitude is exceptional. We have all experienced ingratitude from others and we don’t like it. Yet we also know we have all been guilty of it ourselves. Jesus frequently encountered it. On one occasion He healed ten lepers of their leprosy, but only one of them thanked Him. The rest just walked away, without saying a word:

11While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. 12As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; 13and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed. 15Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, 16and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine–where are they? 18“Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” 19And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”

Luke 17:11-19 (NASB)

I would like to be able to adopt a superior attitude concerning those nine lepers who never thanked Jesus, and to say that their ingratitude was astonishing. But I have done the same thing myself, many times. I have often failed to thank God for His kindness to me and I have also failed to thank other people who have helped me. As I look back now I can think of all sorts of people, especially teachers, bosses, and work colleagues, who have taught me, helped me, trained me or corrected me.

Yet, while they were doing these things I did not always appreciate, or even recognise, what they were doing for me. I sometimes took such people for granted. There were times when I even resented them. I have since found, having been a boss myself, that staff often took me for granted or failed to recognise the efforts I made to help them. That bothered me, but it also reminded me of how I had equally failed to appreciate my own bosses in the past. I cannot go back now and deal with those past events differently. But I can, at least, try to alter my attitude from now on.

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