THE DUTY OF GRATITUDE AND THE SIN OF INGRATITUDE

Gratitude is not just a simple human emotion. The ancient Greeks had come to feel both the duty of gratitude and the sin of ingratitude. We find even in our time an extreme, and horrible attitude of ingratitude by both young and old. Seneca, who certainly gives the ingrate a very low place in the moral scale, ranking him below the homicide, the tyrant, the thief, the adulterer, and the traitor. Xenophon and Aristotle insist on the necessity of gratitude. Saint John Chrysostom stated that “ingratitude was a type of evil.” Judas Iscariot who betrayed Christ witnessed a multitude of miracles performed by Him, rising those from the dead, those possessed by demons who were freed, who heard so many things about the Kingdom of God and Hell, who participated in Communion at the Mystical Supper but instead chose to betray his Master. His ingratitude shown to his Master did not bring him any personal benefit or joy.

It is most important that we are constantly thankful to our Heavenly Father. There are many who ignore the many blessings from God and desire the things that they do not have. Ingratitude is harmful to our soul because it indicates that we are possessed by pride and arrogance. That we are selfish and have no respect for others including the Almighty God. We exploit the kindness and love of those who care for us and demand more and more. We lack humility and respect for our fellow man. We consider ourselves above others and believe that we belong to an elite group that only takes but gives nothing in return to others. Ingratitude shows that we are hollow inside and empty of all feelings or emotions, that we lack authentic humanity. How often do people work in the light of the sun from morning till dusk without looking at the sun, without feeling the warmth of the sun, without even thinking of the sun? How many people ask God’s help without ever acknowledging His presence, without thinking of Him, without thanking God, without admitting to themselves the many gifts which they have received in their lifetime? However, when the day comes when there is no sun and there is only darkness when Fogg covers the earth when severe cold and ice dominate our planet, then and only then do we remember the necessity and warmth of the sun. Mankind was not created to live in darkness but to live in the light, the Heavenly Light which bestows life, joy, hope, peace, and salvation. Jesus says, “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3:20-21).

Goodness and a pure heart welcome the “light,” whereas evil deeds and hatred resist the light and seek to hide in the “darkness.” Saint Paul writing to the Ephesians writes, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). Light exposes the darkness and dark and evil deeds. Besides separating from darkness, Christians are also to “expose” it. But we must first come out of hiding in order to be exposed ourselves. That is, we must confess our evil deeds (sins) and repent of them (see John 3:19-21). We, Orthodox Christians, do this before we receive Holy Communion. After we receive Holy Communion we chant, “We have seen the True Light, we have received the Heavenly Spirit, we have found the True Faith by worshipping the undivided Trinity; for this has saved us.” We are reminded by our Savior Jesus Christ: “I am the Light of the world, He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the Light of Life” (John 8:12). We, the followers of Jesus Christ, believe that God is Light (1 John 1:5) and therefore we are light (Matthew 5:14); believers shine as lights in the world (Phil. 2:15). God is the Source of this UNCREATED, LIFE-GIVING LIGHT (see John 1:4-10; 3:19; 12:35-36).

The unthankful live in darkness for they have rejected the True Light, Jesus Christ. The proud, the arrogant, the selfish, the ungrateful, the uncaring, the cynical, the hateful, the unkind, the unbeliever, the cruel, the angry, uncompassionate, the greedy, the envious, the evil, have chosen darkness and misery as their way of life. The evil one constantly tempts us to reject the God of Light and accept his kingdom of darkness, Hell. The evil one is the source of darkness and torment. The evil one, before he rebelled against God had a prominent position in heaven as the “morning star.” Lucifer the fallen archangel, the light-bearing angel who sought to “be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14). His actions of disobedience and rebelliousness against the Creator God reveal his total lack of gratitude toward Him Who is the Source of Light.

__________________

“Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!”

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