Monday, September 12, 2011

Grace for the Ungrateful

Luke 17:11-19 (The Message) says:

"It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"

Taking a good look at them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests."

=They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus' feet, so grateful. He couldn't thank him enough -- and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus said, "Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?" Then he said to him, "Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you."

I was listening to a sermon on my Iphone this morning by Tullian Tchividjian, who is the grandson of Billy Graham and who pastors the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. The sermon series is called "Pictures of Grace" and I was listening to the second sermon.

He points out that the most surprising thing about this story is that Jesus healed them all KNOWING that only one of them was going to say thank you. I was very convicted by what he said next.

He commented that all of us are more than willing to do nice things for people who we know will appreciate it and who will remember to say thank you. But we are reluctant to serve the ungrateful, especially those we know are not going to express any thanks at all for what we do.

It hit me how un-Christlike and ungracious I am in this area. For some reason when we adopted a bunch of kids we convinced ourselves that somehow they should be and would be grateful for what we had done for them. That couldn't have been farther from the truth. In fact the kids were the opposite of grateful -- they had a sense of entitlement and were rude and disrespectful. And so years ago I began to resent doing things for those who would not say thank you.

So it's time for me to re-frame my thinking. Identifying with Jesus in this aspect of his suffering might just be what it will take for me to move beyond myself and to recognize that grace is not fair and it is not about me.

When I fully understand grace and how undeserving I am of all that God has done for me, it should move me to extend grace to others, regardless of whether or not they will respond with gratitude or express their thanks.

I am challenging myself -- and you -- to make a point to do something nice for someone who you know won't let you know that the appreciate it. Think of one of the most ungrateful people you know and then make a point to extend grace to them, regardless of the results.

I am so glad that God doesn't choose to bless me only on the days that He knows I will remember to say thank you....

1 comment:

FerJeniB said...

C - You always come through for me in my "hour of need." I am up late after a day missing work with a sick kid and not getting anything done. I was fuming while I did the dishes about being treated like a maid and what a time suck the kid is for me and how hubby just lets me do it all when HE was the one who wanted to adopt. I was not feeling the gratitude. Then I read your blog and I laughed. With the laughter came the reminder that I love my husband AND my chosen child who is actually a teen and was blessed with this opportunity to baby him for just a while. THANK YOU!!!!! 0 jb