It has been a frequent topic of conversation lately, during the drive home after school.
“But Mom, why can’t we do that? All my friends at school get to do it! It’s all they ever talk about, and it’s in my face all the time! I just don’t understand!”
I look at my daughter in the rearview mirror, and I see myself. I pause, knowing that a lecture is not what she needs in this moment of genuine frustration.
It’s one of those times when I need to take the log out of my own eye before trying to remove the speck out of hers. I tell her I understand. That I know how she feels. That I feel that way too, sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time.
As we wait for the traffic light to turn green, we talk about that vicious cycle that leads to ingratitude. Through continual experience, I’ve come to learn that thanksgiving’s greatest enemy is not simply ingratitude.
It starts much sooner than that.
It begins with negative comparison.
As soon as I start looking at what other people have that I don’t possess, I’m instantly discontent. And as soon as I’m discontent, I’m no longer grateful for what I do have. The seed is planted in the fertile soil of comparison, gets watered by discontentment and quickly sprouts into a spreading weed of ungratefulness.
It happens fast. And far too often.
Satan has been using the same trick since the beginning: “Look at what you don’t have. Doesn’t it look good?”
He said it to Eve, and he says it to me. I’d venture to guess he has said the same to you, as well. Eve looked down at her palms and saw empty hands.
Don’t we do the very same today? We look around at what others have, then we glance down at what we don’t have, and we want more. We forget that what we have in our hearts through the Lord Jesus is far more valuable than any earthly treasure.
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