Throughout my now getting to be a long life, I have come to truly believe that a lack of gratitude is one of the biggest sins that human beings commit, and in a fraction of my earlier life, I was one of the most egregious of the ungrateful; (pride will do that to you). A lack of gratitude that pervades all of the whiners (especially on the left) who generally seem so shallow to everyone else who disagrees with them. Just when was the last time you heard anyone talking about reparations begin with, “I am truly grateful for the ultimate sacrifice of the hundreds of thousands of mostly white people and others, and the role that sacrifice played in freeing my ancestors?”
Or when was the last time you heard any welfare queen begin a conversation with, “You know, I am grateful that so many whites and others work hard enough and pay enough taxes that makes it possible for me and my family to live. I know I would like to have a little more, but without their sacrifice, I would have absolutely nothing. Thank you?”
Or, “I live in a pretty rough neighborhood and I am so grateful for the police who keep it just barely livable. It could be so much worse than it is if it wasn’t for these guys who literally lay their lives on the line for us each and every day, many of whom are white?”
Or, “I know that there are times when I may not be as comfortable as I would like here at college, but, you know what? – At least there is a college that I can go to. Not everyone gets that opportunity and I’m glad that I do. I know that I have to thank the taxpayers that provide the funds for all this. I promise that I will buckle down and get to class so that I can be successful and maybe make society a little better for all those taxpayers who helped me. I owe them that much.”
A couple of relevant Biblical scriptures come to mind. That horrible and degenerate description of evil and lewdness you read about in Romans Chapter 1 is headed by a description of people who knew God but did not glorify him, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:21-23) That part about not being thankful really gets my attention. Over the years, I’ve had people chide me when I tell them some of the things that I’m thankful for. For example, you have to have lived in some other parts of the world or have done jungle duty to appreciate some simple things like toilet paper, toothpaste and a toothbrush. We have plumbing rather than having to use a common body of water to expel our waste. We have well-paved roads and highways and byways, not rutted dirt tracks in and out of shanty-towns. The list goes on and on and on. We are privileged to have a million blessings much of the rest of the world does not.
Also in the Old Testament there are a couple of references I try to keep close to my own heart before God. He daily loads us with benefits and his mercies are new every morning, as in “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)
We are correct to acknowledge that there are millions of people in this nation who are grateful and thank God for many blessings. This year’s Thanksgiving has special meaning because it is THIS year’s opportunity to give grateful thanks to God for his beneficence; this particular Thanksgiving will not surface ever again. So yes, I am thankful to God and for those great attributes of real truth, faith, wisdom, love, mercy and life, and I pray that you are too.
Shalom to all this Thanksgiving!
Talking about which, Robert Knight in today’s American Thinker…
Talk show host and movie critic Michael Medved once told a cultural conference in Washington that people could be divided into two basic groups — those who are grateful to God and those who are not.
For the ungrateful, the day begins with new complaints about their sorry state, which is usually someone else’s fault. Check out any elite, mob-besieged campus for the latest evidence.
For those filled with gratitude, however, life begins each day with a simple thanks to God for another day of life and the hope that God will bless their endeavors throughout the day.
The Pilgrims are credited with celebrating the nation’s first Thanksgiving in 1621, the year after the Mayflower landed. Despite having lost numerous souls during the voyage and after a harsh winter, they gathered for a feast with several dozen Indians at Plymouth, Massachusetts to thank God following their first harvest.
Farther south, in the nation’s first English colony of Jamestown, which was founded in 1607, historians have chronicled many days devoted to thanksgiving, beginning in 1610.
More than a century and a half later, Benjamin Franklin, whose invocation of prayer turned around a stalled constitutional convention at the dawn of a new nation, reminded himself and his countrymen to be thankful for providential blessings great and small. He saw gratitude as indispensable to mental and societal health. As for its opposite, he said bluntly that “ingratitude is one of the most odious of vices.”
One of Franklin’s many recorded prayers includes this passage: “Let me not be unmindful to acknowledge the favours I receive from Heaven …. For all Thy innumerable benefits; for life and reason, and the use of speech, for health and joy and every pleasant hour, my Good God, I thank thee.”
We are truly blessed to live in a free and prosperous nation, which, for all its faults, still has a large number of grateful citizens who understand just how rare and precious it is.
Looking around at the rest of the world, it’s getting easier every day to make the case for American exceptionalism and the enduring importance of our Christian heritage.
Robert Knight is a Senior Fellow at the American Civil Rights Union.
See also: Thanksgiving Proclamation