A Christians approach to life situations part 8
Ingratitude- forgetfulness of or poor return for kindness received.
This describes someone who is ungrateful or unthankful for what has been done for them.
I am sure all of us have experienced ingratitude from strangers and from loved ones.
Not only do people show ingratitude toward other people they also show ingratitude to God.
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,† 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.† 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,† 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.† 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,† 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man -- and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. †
Here Paul is talking about the Gentiles. At one time they knew about God and they could see from the creation of the world that there is a God and Paul says they are without excuse. However, they didnít care what they knew about God so they did not glorify Him and they were unthankful. How did they show their ingratitude? By not glorifying God and by making idols and worshiping them and even worshiping animals. There are many today that fall in the same category because anyone who does obey the commands of God and they do whatever their hearts desire is showing ingratitude towards God.
Note this next example:
Luke 17:12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.† 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"† 14 So when He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.† 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,† 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.† 17 So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?† 18 "Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?"† 19 And He said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well." †
Even those these men had been healed of this horrible skin disease only 1 was grateful. Now, we may think the 9 men that didnít return may discuss us and we might think that we would never do such a thing but the fact of the matter is that we do. The reason I say this is that we all know that God blesses us everyday and has provided us with everything that we enjoy,† but how many times do we thank God for what He has done for us and provided for us? I remember one older preacher that went around speaking to various congregations told us that when he took a shower in the mornings that he would pray to God and thank him for the water was cleaning him. If you really think about there are many times that we show our ingratitude to God because we donít thank him for those things that we take for granted.
Now think about this. As Christians we know that great sacrifice the Jesus made for us. The shedding of His blood is what makes us possible for to be cleansed of our sins. It shouldnít be hard for us understand that cleansing of sin if far greater than the healing of leprosy that these 10 men experienced, so we have something greater to be thankful for. We also learn from Acts 20:28 that Jesusí blood purchased the church that you and I make up and belong to. With this in mind how are we any different these the 9 men who did not return to thank God when we choose to not attend His church that He purchased with His own blood? When we allow a worldly event such a TV program or a hobby to take first place over assembling with the saints can we honestly say that we showing thankfulness for what God has done for us? If we can we are lying to ourselves because when we fail to return to worship God when we are capable of doing so then we are no different than the 9 men who showed their ingratitude by not thanking God for the blessing that had received. Of course this is just one example of many because when get right down to it anytime we donít obey Godís commands and we enter into sin we are showing our ingratitude toward Him and all of us guilty of this from time to time but thankful for us God loves us enough that He allows us to repent and to be forgiven of our ingratitude.
Another aspect of ingratitude is when a person doesnít only express thankfulness they will also return your kindness with evil. For instance, I have heard of someone taking a stranger into their home, feeding them and giving them a place to stay only for that person to turn around and steal from them and some cases abuse the person that took them in.
A Biblical example of this comes from the story of Gideon. Tell story of Gideon and how he defeated the Midianites. He had 70 sons by multiple wives and 1 son by a concubine.
Judges 8:34 Thus the children of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side;† 35 nor did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal (Gideon) in accordance with the good he had done for Israel.
The children of Israel showed their ingratitude by repaying Gideon back with evil because in chapter 9 after Gideon dies we find out that Abimelech convinces his mother that they donít need these other 70 sons ruling over them and that he should be then next ruler because he was kin to these people of Shechem. His mother goes to work and her brothers convince the people of Shechem to kill these 70 sons of Gideon. Only one escaped and his name was Jotham. After they had carried out the evil act against Gideonís household they made Abimelech their king, but Jotham spoke out against them and point out to them how they had repaid what Gideon did with evil. Of course as the story goes we find out that God doesnít allow Abimlech to reign very long and he is killed, but this shows you some will repay kindness with evil.
The worst example of this in mind is what Judas did to Jesus.
Notice what the book of Proverbs says about this kind of ingratitude.
Proverbs 17:13 †Whoever rewards evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house.
The old saying is true what comes around goes around. Nothing good will ever come from repaying kindness with evil.
What have learned from this lesson so far? We have learned that as Christians we should stay far away from ingratitude and we should always strive to be thankful. We need to understand that ingratitude can cause us to miss heaven because notice what sins un-thankfulness is associated with.
2 Timothy 3:1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:† 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,† 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,† 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,† 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
So, ingratitude is a sin that is why Paul tells us in,
1 Thessalonians 5:18 †in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Christians are supposed to be thankful people. We should even express our thanks when people know that we thankful. The reason† I say this is from the example that Jesus left us in,
John 11:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.† 42 "And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me."
The Father knew that Jesus was thankful, but Jesus expressed His thanks anyway and that is what we should do as Christians even if a person knows that we are thankful for what we did for them. We should always be thankful to God when we pray to Him as,
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;† 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
We have some great Biblical examples of this:
Acts 5:40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.† 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.† 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
They showed their thankfulness under extreme pressure by rejoicing and by continuing to obey Godsí command to spread the good news.
Acts 16:23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.† 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.† 25 ∂ But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
Even though they had been beaten and humiliated in public they showed their thankfulness to God by singing and praying. We need to follow these examples and show our gratitude no matter what the circumstance may be.
Should we expect gratitude from others? Yes and No. If we show kindness to another Christian after all we looked at so far we should expect them gratitude from them. However, when comes to non-Christians they should express gratitude, but we shouldnít count on it. While we should expect gratitude from other Christians this should not be the primary reason why we are showing kindness to another person. We need to realize the primary purpose for our good works toward others is to glorify God and show Christ working through us,
Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.† 15 "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.† 16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.†
So even if you donít receive gratitude from other you can still rejoicing knowing that you are being the shinning light for others and Jesus also teaches us that we should not repay a person ingratitude with evil, but instead we should be merciful. Notice this principle is laid out in,
Luke 6:32 "But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.† 33 "And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.† 34 "And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.† 35 "But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.† 36 "Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
So donít allow someones ingratitude cause you to get angry and sin against that person. Instead, treat them with kindness.
Romans 12:20 †Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."† 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.†
We have learned how ingratitude should not be part of a Christianís life and how we should always be thankful to those who show us kindness and to God. We have learned how we should treat those who show us ingratitude with kindness, so that we may show them by our good example that ingratitude is wrong.
The last thing I want to point out is that God doesnít owe us thanks when we do what He has asked us to do and this illustrated by Jesus in,
Luke 17:7 "And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and sit down to eat'?† 8 "But will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink'?† 9 "Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.† 10 "So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.' "
We should never think that we can do anything that God would ever need to thank us for because everything we have and can do came from Him. This is why we can never earn our salvation by our works and why we should always give God the glory and thank Him for everything in our lives.