“As Jesus entered a village, ten lepers approaced Him . . . they called out, saying: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ . . . As so He made them clean. Then one of them . . . turned back, praising God with a loud voice . . . then Jesus asked: ‘Were not ten made clean? So where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:12-17)
Gratitude is gem that has become increasingly rare in our world today.
Many people respond to kindness and good will in the same way as the nine lepers whom Jesus healed. He didn’t have to heal them, but out of love and compassion, He did so anyway. And He was baffled by their response.
Too often we take forgiveness for granted. Much like the nine ungrateful lepers, we begin to feel entitled to what we want. We think we deserve something simply because we want it, and so mostly these days we just go out and take it.
St. Paul alludes: “Should we sin because we are no longer under the law, but under grace? By no means!” (Rom 6:15)
Yet so many believers take God’s grace for granted by living in sin throughout the week and asking for forgiveness on Sunday.
This is not true repentance.
The believer will certainly stumble on occasion – it’s part of the struggle. But choosing to do wrong and “demanding” that God forgive you is the height of arrogance and the epitome of ingratitude.
But that is the human condition; the result of living in a fallen world. It is why God allows us to suffer for our own mistakes – so that we may learn to appreciate His gift of forgiveness.
Sometimes God must scold His children. If a child deliberately throws a rock and shatters a window, the child must be punished. How severely? Severely enough to understand that what they did was wrong, unacceptable, and that it will not be tolerated.
If bad behavior is left unpunished, it will reinforce itself into habit.
However, the reverse is true, also. When one practices gratitude and kindness, these become habits, reinforced over time.
Practice being grateful for the grace of God and the kindness of others. In time, it won’t even be a thought; you will have obtained the attitude of gratitude.