“Lord, I thank you that I am still alive. Many people died last year but I’m still breathing. Thank you that I am not sick. Some are at the emergency hospital with their legs in the air. I’m not a human being more than they are but you have shown me mercy”. Is this how to be grateful?
If you don’t have a problem with the prayer above, it’s simply because you heard it many times. Our brains can believe something based on how frequently we hear it. That is why it’s important to step back and question whether we’ve been doing it right all along or we are stuck in a wrong status quo.
Don’t thank God by comparing yourself to someone else. Thank God by comparing your current situation to the previous times. There is one funny thing about comparing ourselves to others because they died and we didn’t. Some dead people may also be rightly thanking God for taking His breath from their lungs. Imagine being so old and having every joint in your body ache 24/7. After dying, you are now as young as a flower at the beginning of spring.
Yet, someone on earth thinks they are in a better situation than yours because you’re dead. Meanwhile that someone on earth has to pay school fees for his 4 kids, work 6 times a week on 2 different jobs and make time for his wife. What’s my point? The person you’re comparing yourself to in your attempt to be grateful may even be in a better situation than you are. This leads me to be the 2nd point.
The point about comparison is that you’ll always look for and find someone in a worse situation than yours. One of the easiest ways to be stagnant in life is to compare yourself to someone lower than you. No, it doesn’t make you grateful. It makes you proud. Imagine if all males thank God that He didn’t make them females. It’s an insult to those God made as females. Can’t you simply thank God without making someone else feel less of a person? The prayer in the very first paragraph is no different from this Pharisee in Luke 18:11;
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ What did you notice? It was a prayer of thanksgiving. What again did you notice? Though a prayer of thanksgiving, the prayer was more about how he was better than someone else.
You are not better than someone else just because you’re a Christian. Sorry to burst your bubble. Our prayer gives the insinuation that God gives His special grace to a special group of people. It sounds nice when you see yourself as a part. The day you’ll hate it is when you end up in the emergency hospital with your leg in the air as described in the first paragraph. Funny enough, since we keep finding someone in a worse situation than ours, we think we are privileged.
You would find some people at Golgotha thanking God that they are still alive and did not die like Jesus did on the cross, shamefully hanging totally naked and dying non-peacefully. You would have found some people for sure. They don’t even want to know God’s bigger picture. All they are concerned about is how special they are. The Bible states clearly that God shows no partiality (Romans 2:11, Acts 10:34). In fact, Jesus taught us to be good to all people like the Father is, for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Find a better way to be grateful and stop arguing. Are you saying if you were the only living thing in the universe you wouldn’t have a way to be grateful? If this post rid of all your approaches to be grateful, then it’s time to search the Scriptures for prayers of thanksgiving. Don’t thank God that others are dead. Thank God you’re alive. Don’t thank God others are sick. Thank God you are in good health.
God doesn’t need any comparisons to know how much He has done for you as compared to “less privileged” people. If you want to compare, compare your current situation to how it used to be. Gratitude flows from a source. Make sure that the source is contentment and not selfish comparison.
I love you