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Pointers along the way #98

Thanksgiving from the heart
- Jacob Ninan

Even secular psychologists have discovered that an attitude of thankfulness can do wonders for our mental health and total well being. But some of them propose that we should fake thankfulness in order to get the benefits, even if we aren't exactly feeling thankful. We are to be thankful, because that is good and right in the eyes of the Lord. We are also glad that it will be a blessing to us.

It is the humble people who find it easy to be thankful (Ps.69:30-32). It is quite natural for them to be thankful to God and to the people around them. They recognise how dependent they are on God and people, and they have no problem with being thankful.

So if we find ourselves grumpy, complaining and critical a lot of the time, we need to look at how we can become more humble.

Do we think God ought to do a better job at taking care of us? If so, who do we think we are to make such demands? Do we think people should be more helpful, more understanding, more kind, etc., towards us? That's fine, even we ought to be more like that towards the others! But do we think we are someone special that others have to wait on us and serve us?

It is probably true that if we have problems with pride we are not very much aware of that. But complaining and fault finding is one of the symptoms of pride that we can't explain away.

Wealth, education, job, family heritage, talents and skills, spiritual gifts, etc., have a way of making us proud when we compare ourselves with the others and feel superior. It gives us a certain air about us. Even if we are not so crude about it that we make open statements with disdainful looks at the others, insulting remarks, etc., just the fact that we are not thankful but complaining proves our pride. We need to peer inside us and see what exactly is making us proud.

Our natural tendency is towards pride and not humility. All of us must recognise that we need to deal with our hidden pride constantly. We can get much help in this connection if we keep thankfulness as a measure of our humility. Then we can serve God increasingly better as we continue to humble ourselves (He.12:28).