What To Do When Someone is Ungrateful

Tell me if this has ever happened to you? You recognize a need in someone, you do something to meet that need, and then the person either doesn’t notice at all, notices but shows very little gratitude, or for some reason is extremely rude to you in response to what you did.

Let’s say you noticed a friend at work wasn’t having such an awesome day. So, when you went to lunch, you bought back a slice of cheesecake for her because you know it’s her favorite. She thanked you, took it from you quickly, gobbled it down, and that was all she said about it. And you think, “Wow! I thought I’d get a little more gratitude outta that.”

Or, let’s say she took one look at the cheesecake and burst into tears. She said she doesn’t want it because she’s trying to lose weight and you should have known she was on a diet. Now she’s angry at you!

Definitely not the response you wanted.

Or, your neighbor is recently widowed, and you noticed that her yard needed mowing. Her children don’t live around, she may or may not know how to operate her husband’s lawnmower, who knows? But you mowed her yard.

She either doesn’t say thank you at all, or she says a curt “thank you”, and nothing more.

I imagine we’ve all experienced something like this. We did something for someone because we saw they needed it. They didn’t ask, but we did it. And their response was little to no gratitude or even, God-forbid, they were rude in return.

{We obviously don’t do things just to get a “thank you”, and you never know what people are going through to cause them to react the way they do, but those are different posts for another day.}

What I’m talking about is, when you’re in the situation, when you’ve done the deed of service, and the gratitude doesn’t come, what do you do?

Let there be thanksgiving anyway.

Concentrate with thanks (I saw that phrase in some commentary in my English Standard Study Bible and thought it applied here).

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Based on the 1 Thessalonians verse, we see that it is God’s will for us to be joyful, and I believe that concentrating with thanks will help us do that.

How do you concentrate with thanks?

In any situation when you feel hurt or angry, when you feel resentment, when you feel unnoticed, etc, think of Philippians 4:8.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1 is to memorize this verse.

Then, you’ll need to pray and ask God for help using what the verse teaches.

Next, you’ll need to train yourself to recognize when you need to use it. When you need it, go through each of the 8 words Paul to fix your thoughts on and analyze the situation to see if anything applies to you, the other people involved, or the situation in general.

Think about what is true in the situation. What is something that actually, truly occurred? Make sure you are only look at the facts.

Think about what is honorable about what happened. This means something that was noble, honest, or worthy of respect. Think about the character of the people involved. Were any of their characteristics deserving of respect? Think about when they may have shown integrity or ethical conduct. What about yourself in the situation? What did you do that was respectful? How did you shown integrity or conducted yourself ethically?

Think about what is just or right in the situation. Were the commands of God kept in any way? What was upright or virtuous.

Think about what is pure or holy. What was “without fault” in regards to the situation?

What was lovely (acceptable or pleasing)?

Think about anything that was commendable. (Commendable means of good report). What was admirable, gracious, what has value? Was anything spoken in good will to others? What was spoken in a kindly spirit?

Was there any excellence in the situation? Can you think of anything virtuous or of moral excellence?

Think about anything worthy of praise. Can you applaud or compliment something about the situation?

We’re going to say that, in Philippians 4:8, Paul was talking directly to us concerning situations just like I described involving your friend or your widowed neighbor.

If there’s anything excellent in the situation that you can think of, think about that. Take your mind off the negative things: the person was rude, the person wasn’t grateful, the person didn’t acknowledge what you did at all…take your mind off those things and literally walk through that verse, list all 8 words, and see if you can figure out something from the situation to apply.

In the situation where you took your friend a slice of cheesecake, what is lovely in that situation? What is true in that situation? What is just, excellent, commendable about her, yourself, or the situation in general?

Focus on that. Anytime you start to get aggravated again, as soon as you start to think bitter thoughts about her – “what a hussy! I can’t believe she acted that way over a slice of cheesecake” – stop that thought, take it captive, give it to the Holy Spirit, and then think back on the things that you found about the situation that were lovely.

You may not be able to think of something for all 8.

Ask God to show you the ones you can’t figure out.

But maybe there isn’t something for all 8 words. That’s ok. Being able to apply any of those words in the verse will help redirect your thoughts and help heal your heart.

Any time your mind goes back to the situation and you start to think hurtful things again, refocus on Philippians 4:8 and the words you could apply.

You’ll be concentrating with thanks using Philippians 4:8.

Let there be thanksgiving!

Let There Be Thanksgiving

God doesn’t require animal sacrifices anymore. No more rams without blemish. No more bulls for burnt offerings. No more blood sprinkled on the altar.

Thank goodness.

Now, believers show our devotion to God with our lives. We present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices.

Sounds scary, but there are no knives or fires involved here. I’m talking about the sacrifice of how we live our lives: what we do, what we say, even what we think since our Lord is omniscient.

We are to live godly lives that acknowledge Him, that show others we love, trust, and believe in Him.

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I realize that talking about thankfulness and gratitude during the month of November may be cliche for some of you, but thanksgiving is exactly what we need right now.

Not the thanksgiving where you gather with family and eat all the turkey, dressing, gravy, and pumpkin pie you can hold. Although that thanksgiving is awesome, too. I pray you are able to safely gather with your family to observe your normal holiday traditions this year.

But, the thanksgiving I’m talking about is an attitude, a way of living year round…

Let there be thanksgiving!

Yes, I do know that I’m writing this in the year 2020, a year that is arguable the worst ever, at least in my lifetime.

Could anything good come out of 2020?

No and yes.

If you aren’t looking for something positive, you won’t see anything positive. I can almost guarantee it.

The power of positive thinking is a real and valuable tool.

More importantly, though, I’m talking about counting your blessings.

Here I go being cliche again! But even cliches have some truth to them.

Instead of “count your blessings,” I’ll say this – concentrate with a grateful heart on the things that are good no matter how few or how small.

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If nothing else, thank God for giving you another breath today.

If you can’t even do that, pray and ask God to change your heart and help you to be thankful. Ask Him to show you something to be thankful for.

When you find something, say you’re thankful for it out loud.

Do you know what that does? It acknowledges the blessing from God. This is actually an act of worship of God, and worship pleases God.

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Plus, it will soften your heart.

It will help you see other things you can give thanks for.

When you think of more things that are good, thank God for them aloud, too.

Write them in a list and stick it on your fridge or bathroom mirror.

Notice how your heart feels? Are you smiling now?

Thank God for that.

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This is our sacrifice of praise. This is how we worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Let there be thanksgiving!

Could Anything Good Come Out of 2020?

Tell me something good that happened to you in 2020.

I know there’s been more heartache and suffering than we want to think about. I’m not denying that 2020 has been a rough year – personally, locally, nationally, and globally.

But if we only focus on negative, negative will be all we ever see. In difficult times, we have to make ourselves look for the good things that are happening.

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You may have to look hard to find them, but there are things to give thanks for in the midst of all this turmoil and pain. There are indeed blessings in our lives.

Tell me about a blessing you’ve experienced this year.

It’s ok if you have to dig to find it.

I’ll wait.

It’s ok if all you have to cling to is a tiny blessing. EVERY good thing counts.

Tell me one good thing…then think about more. List them on paper so you can see them written out.

Here are a few positive things on my list that have happened in our family in 2020, especially since the virus hit in March:

Emery learned to ride her bike. We’ve been trying to teach her for several years, but she wasn’t interested. Then, one evening just a few days after the school closings in March, she said she wanted to learn to ride her bike. And she did! Quickly! She hasn’t stopped since.

We walked around our neighborhood as a family in the afternoons in the spring time when it warmed up and the days started getting longer. We did this almost every weeknight for several weeks in a row. There wasn’t a rush to go to bed because the kids didn’t have to go to school the next day.

I’ve gotten to spend bonus time with my children. Time I thought was gone since they started school, and I went back to work. The virus shut down the schools and my workplace, and it was like they were little kids again, and I was getting to hang out with them all day.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s been challenging – even excruciating at times. Sheltering-at-home and social distancing from our friends, family, and church. Job-site closing. Sickness and death. Fear…

Remote-learning!!!

But I acknowledge that this time with my children has also been a blessing.

Typically, they’re in school. I’m working. My time with them is short. They spend more of their day at school with their teachers than home with their dad and me.

Then, WHAM! All of a sudden they’re home with me.

Tears have been shed. Tempers have been lost…but it hasn’t been all bad. This is invaluable time with them that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I call that a blessing.

I pray you are able to see the blessings in your life in 2020. I pray you are able to find some positive moments.

If something doesn’t come to you quickly, take the time to sit and think.

Ask God to show you good things you missed. Then watch and listen until you see more.