In American culture, we have an entitlement problem. It creates envy when others seem to be fairing better than we are. They call it “privileged.” We feel that we are owed the American dream; when we don’t get it we are disillusioned, angry at the world, and even God.
“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” – Brene Brown.
What does gratitude mean? Gratitude is one of many positive emotions. It’s about focusing on what’s good in our lives and being thankful for what we have. Gratitude is pausing to notice and appreciate things we often take for granted, like having a place to live, food, clean water, friends, family, and even computer access.
What are the three qualities of gratitude? Some psychologists further categorize three types of gratitude:
- Gratitude as an “affective trait” means one’s overall tendency to be grateful.
- Gratitude is a mood that means your usual daily disposition is overall gratitude.
- Gratitude is an emotion that is a more temporary feeling of gratitude that one may feel after receiving a gift or a favor.
The apostle Paul tells us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We are called to give thanks not just in the good but in all circumstances. We should be grateful in all situations because Jesus paid the price for our sins, and we will spend eternity with Him.
Why is gratitude so powerful? Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new, hoping it will make them happier, or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack.
What does the Bible say about gratitude? Some of his most well-known passages are focused on gratitude, including giving thanks for all things, in all circumstances (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18), being thankful even in suffering (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:1-4), and to do everything in the name of Jesus out of a spirit of gratefulness (Colossians 3:17).
What are the five benefits of being grateful? In addition to the psychological effects like reduced stress and increased optimism, we also see many fantastic health benefits of gratitude, better sleep, heart health, more drive to exercise, lower blood pressure, and healthier relationships.
As we enter the Thanksgiving holiday, let us celebrate with gratitude in our hearts – not only on the day but throughout the year.