Being grateful changes our outlook in life. It changes the way we look at problems and the way we look at storms that come our way. We aren’t shaken whenever things don’t happen as planned. Our thoughts process these matters differently and we always see the good in everything, despite everything.
When we are full of gratitude, life becomes easier as we always have the tendency to view the brighter side of things. In fact, humility becomes second nature, and as if by program default, we set aside pride and jealousy. This is because we are always counting our blessings so much so that when confronted with sad events the mindset is always about being grateful for God’s infinite goodness and blessings. When bad things happen, we still have that capacity to absorb pain and suffering instead of whining and complaining. We persevere, we bear the difficulty, we are hopeful that brighter times come after the storms.
In the Gospel, the debtor-servant who owed the king a huge amount was ordered to be sold along with his wife, his children, and all his property in payment of the debt. After the servant fell down and paid homage, the master was moved with compassion and let him go and forgave the loan. However, when he left and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount, he started to choke him, and refused mercy to his fellow servant. Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison until he paid back the debt. After their master knew what happened, he summoned the servant and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.” (Mt. 18: 21-35)
This is indeed a tragic story because while he was able to get forgiveness from the king, he wasn’t able to show it to his fellow servant. His behavior speaks of being ungrateful, bitter and full of resentment. Jesus took the example to the extreme to prove the point. Being unforgiving can happen even in a subtle and minute way. For example, ignoring somebody for a long time, maybe because of jealousy, envious of their success, can reflect an unforgiving heart. Even driving on the offensive (rather than being defensive, as my wife Alma reminds when behaving like that in stressful traffic situations) can be an unforgiving behavior.
Being forgiving is admittedly difficult to do consistently, yet it is an attribute that is worth taking as a habit. Love is the whole message of the Gospel, and is God’s reason for sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
It is important to be always truly grateful, because when you are, you become mindful of every event and challenge in your life. You’ll find yourself living with greater purpose and passion; life becomes more meaningful. Being grateful will give you meaning because it allows you to capture the beauty of life’s moments, no matter the circumstances. When you are in a difficult situation, it takes the burden out of life while adding a dimension of wonder and awe of what might be. It also allows you to find contentment amidst the darkness, serenity even in the loud noise of crisis.
Being grateful will empower you to change your life for the better, it will enable you to love more and to love better.
Love your enemies.
Love until it hurts.
Despite the pain, despite the hurts, despite the circumstances.
“I give you a new commandment, says the Lord; love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn. 13: 34)