Recently I heard a pastor talking about the way the words listed above relate to each other. He posed what for me was a very compelling progression of thought that I want to try to dig into for myself. The premise is this: a person who embraces ingratitude can potentially move through the above sequence until they find themselves imprisoned; shackled because of their own unchecked behavior. Each step deserves a bit of time, so I think this will be 4 entries.
the state of being ungrateful.
I don’t like thinking about my own ungratefulness. For a follower of Jesus, there is simply never a good reason to entertain the poison that ingratitude is. It’s a simmering bacteria that won’t be contained. It will seep and drip and soak and infect everything in its path. Where once you might have been satisfied, you now find internal discord, inviting you to loath what you once loved. It’s a very nasty business. I speak from experience.
Some of us may think ingratitude can fly under the radar, without drawing too much attention. We can be ungrateful and to some degree keep it out of sight if we want to. But not for very long. It’s like a bad smell that find its way out into the air. A bystander might not be able to pinpoint its origin, but they know something’s not right.
Ingratitude first showed its face in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). The serpent drew Eve’s focus away from all that was freely hers to enjoy, to the singular forbidden tree. One swift move of the adversary had her hyper focused on the only ‘no’ in a sea of ‘yeses.’ Lest we judge Eve too quickly, Genesis 3:6 tells us that she was seduced on every finite level. That the tree was good for food appealed to her physical being. That is was a delight to her eyes drew her in emotionally. That the tree was desirable to make one wise engaged her intellectually. This was a comprehensive lure. Her enemy knew how to entice her and it worked, the first time.
Here is the glaring caution for me as I get into this study: Ingratitude unchecked will morph into something dangerous, something that might surprise us by its seriousness, like a cut that becomes infected through neglect.
Sifting through the archives of my own journey, I have an idea the high cost of fastidiously tending my ingratitude. And the implications are at a minimum, sobering. Sobering because I’m beginning to see the link between embracing ingratitude and the onset of idolatry. So maybe for me, this needs to be a daily introspection… am I a grateful woman? Do I know what I’m inviting if I wrap my arms around ingratitude?
But understand this,
that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money,
proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents,
unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous,
without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous,
reckless, swollen with conceit,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
having the appearance of godliness,
but denying its power.
~ 2 Timothy 3 ~