The Bible reflects a grateful attitude for what God and others have done in many places! Here are a few examples:
Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. (Psalm 100:4)
Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, And tell of His works with joyful singing. (Psalm 107:21-22)
We also find a grateful apostle Paul:
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. (Romans 1:8).
And he reminds us always to be thankful to God as we continue to ask Him to meet our needs:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
If you think about it, we can (and should!) be grateful for so many things, including family, friends, jobs, and God’s creation itself. So, expressing gratitude—especially toward God—seems to be important! Why? Giving thanks for what we receive or experience is an appropriate response that completes a transaction: you have received something, so you give something in return. And having a grateful attitude can also be physically and emotionally beneficial.
Practicing gratitude “reinforces generous behavior, squeezes our negative feelings, and can help with depression” (https://www.heysigmund.com/the-science-of-gratitude/). Also, “research has found that we tend to feel more grateful for experiences than for things we have.” Being grateful causes us to change our focus from our issues and troubles and makes us feel better as if we’ve received an emotional ‘shot in the arm.’ I want to share one of my experiences.
In 1994, I opened an electronics repair and computer business. Naively, I wasn’t financially prepared, and my family was without money for food by early 1995. My church didn’t help. They were friendly, but not ‘kind.’ However, one of my customers, a kind Catholic woman who heard of our situation, rallied her congregation to buy groceries before, during, and after Thanksgiving and Christmas gifts for our four children. Her selfless acts were purely sacrificial and loving. Our gratitude for what she and the others in her church did gave us relief from our struggles and empowered us also be kind to others over the years.
In closing, I’ll tell you that I’m thankful for every one of you who reads and ponders my articles. They are my gift to you, and I’m grateful for your readership. What’s next? Well, let’s continue our journey of self-improvement in Turning Bad Into Good.
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley