In-Sight: Attitude of Gratitude

I am not usually a cliché Christian–you know, the kind of words that fit on a bumper sticker. 

But truth be told, the phrase “the attitude of gratitude” is difficult to improve.  We must not allow the brevity and cutesy rhyming to turn us away from the fact that gratitude begins as a disposition of our hearts–as an attitude.

Without this attitude, we can find more than enough to dislike, criticize, find fault with, judge, and condemn.  Check it out and you will find that the bitterness expressed by people on the outside is due to the fact that they are bitter people on the inside.   By contrast, grateful people express their gratitude from grateful hearts.

One way to realize this is to ask yourself this question, “Is this person someone I look forward to seeing?–even before a word has come out of their mouth?  Likely, the people we are drawn to are those who are attractive from within.  As soon as we acknowledge this, we need to explore our attitudes to sense whether or not we are the kind of person others look forward to seeing.

This is not shallow naiveté or superficial pretending.  Gratitude is the inner conviction that goodness and blessing are at the core of reality, and that by showing gratitude to others, we are more likely to bring it out them than if we lead off with negativity.  This is what we mean when we sing, “They will know we are Christian by our love.”

Next week, we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day.  We will go to the grocery store, purchase all sorts of food, prepare it well, and set our tables attractively.   As we do this, let’s go into our hearts to be sure the attitude of gratitude is ready to be served along with good food.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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