Along with remembering what God has done with gratitude and seeking the good to be grateful, we also have an opportunity to be generous with gratitude by sharing it with others. There are people in our workplaces, schools, churches and homes that are battling so many negative thoughts on what failures they are as parents, spouse, workers and students.
Some people preemptively deem themselves as failures for the day before the day has even started! With all of this happening all around us, it can seem like there is a lack of gratitude for others that is shared, and even when it is present things can feel awkward or overly positive. But what if sharing the gratitude we have for others with them was just the way things were? What if the awkward moments were caused by NOT expressing gratitude for each other? As big of a hurdle as that may be, I think there is a Biblical way to live like this, and that Scriptures calls for us to live like this.
Sadly, there is an uneasiness with receiving praise, appreciation or gratitude for each other. Maybe there is a worry that someone is trying to butter us up to get something from us, or the expression of gratitude is dismissed because of false humility. Worse yet, maybe a wall of self-loathing is so well fortified from past wounds that nothing positive or encouraging can penetrate the bastions of self-preservation (which are often actually dark pits of self-depreciation). Whatever the case may be, sharing the gratitude we have for each other can be challenging, but it doesn’t mean we should give up!
On the flip side of the barriers to of receiving praise, appreciation or gratitude, there is also a deficit of being generous with gratitude by sharing our praise, appreciation or gratitude for others. It makes sense too, if you think about it… so many of us are dealing with so many different things in our own hearts and minds that there sometimes isn’t room to consider or recognize what others are doing around us. Be that as it may, we are still called to magnify and express gratitude for the awesomeness of the people around us. And when we do so we not only build up others, we protect ourselves from being encumbered by the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:13 reads: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” One of the best ways to encourage someone to do good things is to express gratitude for the good thing they are doing. Here’s an example of what this might look like in the workplace “Hey man! I see you working hard everyday to get this job done. You persistence is inspiring and I’m grateful for it. Keep it up and thank you!” Even if this feels foreign at first, do this daily and watch how the work environment begins to change. Watch how hard it becomes for sin to sneak and and bring confusion between the people you work with. Expressing gratitude daily will inevitably change the way things are done whether at work, home, church or school.
Not only do I believe that it is possible to cultivate an atmosphere of gratitude for and with the people around us, according to scripture we are called to do this. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10. One of the greatest ways we can love and honor one another is by sharing gratitude for the people around us and how we experience them. Letting them know the blessing they are to the home, class, church or workplace may be the only time they hear how much someone appreciates them. As we are consistently generous in sharing gratitude for those around us, regardless of what we have going on in our own lives, walls will come down and hearts will be softened to receive the love that God has for them.
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