Ingratitude Topical Study

Preaching and Worship Resources about Ingratitude

Most people know that ingratitude is the opposite of gratitude or thankfulness. The word ingratitude doesn't occur much in the Bible, although "the ungrateful" are singled out a couple of times in the New Testament as exhibiting one of many non-spiritual attitudes typical in the lives of unbelievers. For believers in God, however, gratitude should generally characterize one's overall stance in life. God is the giver of all good things. People who know God, therefore, live lives that overflow with thanksgiving. If the psalms depict God as again and again soliciting people's praise and thanksgiving, it is not because God is vain or in need of our fluffing him up with compliments. Rather, such expressions of gratitude are merely fitting for those who recognize God as the source of all goodness and blessing. To riff on a well-known sentiment from the author Lewis B. Smedes, life is simply out of joint when those who receive good things fail to express gratitude — toward God, but just as much toward one another. In the well-known incident of the healing of the ten lepers in Luke 17, only one of the ten returns to Jesus to thank him after discovering he had been healed. Jesus' response of "Where are the other nine?" likely represents God's abiding, day-to-day wonder at so many people in his creation who receive his good gifts and yet lead lives marked by an ongoing ingratitude. Those who believe they are merely entitled to receive good things or those who are convinced they earned every good thing they receive are unlikely to express gratitude to God or to anyone else.

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Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.