Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT
Creeping down the middle aisle of the school auditorium, they prostrate themselves before their teachers, then rise to present them a bouquet of flowers.
The above would be strange in the United States of America, but in countries such as Thailand, China, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan, the custom is well … customary. But in Thailand, students don’t only do that for their school teachers. According to the Thai culture guidebook, The Thai and I: Thai Society and Culture, “Every person … if he is to be truly Thai, should feel and express gratitude to mother and father teachers, and those who have supported or patronized him in any way.”
But in other countries, entitlement is the word of the day. According to the British Journal of Social Psychology, only twenty percent of American adults rated gratitude as a constructive and useful emotion. Indulgent parents and TV commercials are named among the culprits making our children ungrateful. American children see 40,000 commercials every year.
By failing to show gratitude, children miss out. Scientific data shows gratitude leads to psychological, physical, and social gains as well as happiness, healthy self-esteem, optimism, sleep quality, enhanced life satisfaction, decreased anxiety, lower depressive symptoms, and less body dissatisfaction.
Gratefulness releases a brain chemical known as oxytocin which promotes trust, attachment, empathy, intimacy, relaxation, generosity, calmness, and security (www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/we-dont-appreciate-the-value-of-gratitude).
Scientific research proves we should do what Paul said in the first century: “Be thankful in all circumstances.”
When gratitude isn’t the norm for me, I’ll fall into the entitlement trap—thinking I deserve every good thing that comes my way or that everything I experience in life should be good. If I think someone owes something to me, I probably won’t show much appreciation for it.
Avoiding the entitlement trap isn’t easy—but necessary to see life in the proper perspective. Nobody owes me anything, including God. All good things that come to me ultimately come from Him and constitute His blessings—the icing on the cake.
Showing gratitude places us in God’s will and helps us view the things we have … material or not … through the lenses of thankfulness, not expectations.
We can only live with an attitude of gratitude for God’s forgiveness and for God’s blessings—in whatever form they come—by appealing to God’s help, which He gladly provides.
Rather than thinking you are owed what you have, live believing anything you have is a blessing.
Tweetable: Do you have an attitude of gratitude?
Prayer: Father, make us grateful so that we can enjoy life and appreciate You and others.
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