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The Sin of Being Unthankful and the Need for Thanksgiving

When we are unthankful it tells a lot about our character. It tells all who can see that we are unloving and
uncaring. Not only is it a sin to be unloving it is also a sin to be unthankful (actually the two are tied
together). In writing to Timothy, Paul by inspiration of the Holy Spirit lists a long list of sins in 2 Tim.
3:1-5, "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of
themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong,
haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.
And from such people turn away!" (NKJV) Did you note "unthankful" and "unloving" in this listing?

Actually, most of us do not find it too hard to turn away from those who fit into the categories of
unthankful and unloving. There is something in our nature about ungrateful people that turns us away.

When we do an act of kindness out of genuine concern for another or just to show our appreciation for
them, maybe even just to let them know we care about them, and then they react as though what we did
for them or gave to them meant nothing at all to them it hurts us down to the bone. It tells us they do not
care about us and it hurts. It is a sin and it is shameful to conduct ourselves this way.

In Luke 6:35 Jesus ties the unthankful with those who are evil. "But love your enemies, do good, and
lend, hoping for nothing in return; and you reward will be great, and you will be sons of the most high.
For he is kind to the unthankful and evil." (NKJV)

He goes on to say in the next verse, "Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful." (Luke
6:36 NKJV) The idea here is that we are to be as he is – kind to the unthankful and evil. The unthankful
sin in being unthankful but then double their sin in being unmerciful also for who has ever seen an
unthankful person that was merciful to others? If such exist they are rare creatures indeed.
Unthankfulness and mercy are like fire and gasoline – they do not go together. It is certain the unthankful
person is not merciful toward the one who showed kindness to him.

Jesus knows better than anyone what it is to do good to others and then find them unthankful. What was
his crime that he should be crucified? Was it that he went about doing good, healing, casting out demons,
giving sight to the blind, etc.? Hear the words of the Psalmist that have reference to Jesus.

"You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor; my adversaries are all before you. Reproach has
broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; and
for comforters, but I found none. They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me
vinegar to drink." (Psalms 69:19-21 NKJV) Was the Jewish nation thankful to Jesus? Rather than
thanksgiving to Jesus there was reproach. As for pity there was none.

I think a special point that ought to be made just here is how unthankfulness hurts the other person,
"reproach has broken my heart." Had there been thanksgiving by those Jesus loved and had done so
much for (the Jews in general) there would have been no reproach and thus no broken heart. To fail to
give thanksgiving to whom it is due in a timely manner is a reproach to the one who should have been
thanked and that holds true whether the thanksgiving is to be given to God or man.
The golden rule is to do unto others as you would have them do to you (Matt. 7:12). Is it too much to
give thanks to others for their goodness shown to us? The command of God to man, to you and me, is to
"be thankful." (Col. 3:15 NKJV) Certainly, we are to be thankful to God but should we not also be
thankful to our fellowman when he/she shows kindness to us? Shouldn't we express that thanksgiving?
Shouldn't we feel that thanksgiving in our hearts? Should we not desire to return good to the one who has
done good to us?

Love given or shown to us ought to create love within us. "We love him because he first loved us." (1
John 4:19 NKJV) We come to love God not because we have had a personal conversation with him and
grew to like him the way human relationships often develop but because we have learned about him
through his word and have come to a knowledge and understanding of what all he has done for us,
including the sacrifices that have been made for us, the longsuffering with us, the patience, the
lovingkindness. We have learned how much he yearns for us and longs for our salvation and desires us to
be with him in eternity. We have learned of heaven and mansions prepared there for you and me. God's
expressions of love for us through these things begin to change us if we will allow it. Love and
thanksgiving begin to develop in the heart that will allow it.

We have to be very careful lest we be like the 10 lepers Jesus cleansed. They were told to go show
themselves to the priests and in obeying, heading out on the road to the priests, while going, they were
healed. Only one returned to give thanks to Jesus and he was a Samaritan. Jesus' response was, "Were
there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to
God except this foreigner?" (Matt. 17:17-18 NKJV)

Are we really thankful? Paul said to the Corinthians, "For who makes you differ from another? And what
do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had
not received it?" (1 Cor. 4:7 NKJV) We sometimes live as though we are entitled. Two men labor side
by side doing the same work. One is a union member, the other is not. One is paid maybe twice the
salary of the other. Is he really better and more deserving than the other man? Is he by being who he is

Movie stars, entertainers, politicians, and professional athletes (as well as many others I am sure) often
leave the impression of entitlement. I deserve what I have or the amount of money I make just because of
who I am – a star. I need not be thankful for after all it is me and I am deserving, it is owed me. Paul's
statement is applicable – "what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it,
why do you boast as if you had not received it?" (1 Cor. 4:7 NKJV) Whatever talents or abilities we have
that others may not have did not come to us by merit but by the gift of God. Are we thankful or are we
unbearably arrogant, proud, boastful, and unthankful?

Sometimes it is said, well I worked hard and I deserve it. I bet we would have no problem at all finding
someone who has worked harder than you or at least just as hard, whoever you are, who has received far
less than you have for his/her efforts. Are we thankful to God or arrogant and full of pride?

The thankful man is thankful to God for all his gifts, talents, abilities, opportunities, his income, and is
gladly willing to do good to all men as he has opportunity (Gal. 6:10). He knows that everything that
exists belongs to God and that what he presently possesses came from God and that he is merely a
steward of those things for a time. They are to be used to God's glory and in sharing with others he is
sharing not his own things but God's blessings with others.

Here is a quick look at some scriptures and their teaching on giving thanks.

Eph. 5:20 – "Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Col. 3:17 – "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to
God the Father through Him." (NKJV)

Col. 4:2 – "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving." (NKJV)

1 Thess. 5:17-18 – "Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ
Jesus for you." (NKJV)

Heb. 13:15 – " Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of
our lips, giving thanks to His name." (NKJV)

(Philippians 4:6) "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with
thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God."

It goes without saying that Jesus himself was a praying man who gave thanks continually (see Matt.
11:25, Luke 10:21, John 11:41 for examples).

Thanksgiving shows a humility which God prizes. The proud do not give sincere thanksgiving for after
all, as they see it, they deserve it all.

Perhaps the biggest danger we face in America today as regards the need to be thankful is that we have so
much we just take it all for granted. Unlike the depression era generation most of us living today cannot
ever remember really hard times. If you have always had and never been in want then thanksgiving is
more difficult. This article came about in part by accident. I was on YouTube just looking around when I
ran across a video on homeless people. I think you would benefit as much as I did if you would go to
YouTube and watch a video or two.

Go to YouTube and type into the YouTube searchbox the term "invisible people tv" and watch a few
videos that come up as a result of your search. It will make you more thankful and I suspect you will
thank God for his goodness that has been shown to you afterwards. God is a great God and has done so
many good things for us that we have blessings untold that cannot be numbered. Thank him and then
thank your family, friends, neighbors, your co-workers, all whom you owe a thank you to. You will feel
better about yourself as a person and will be doing God's will in doing so.