The Pride Of Unthankfulness

There is just something not right about driving to work in the dark and then turning right around and driving home again in the dark. I really struggle this time of the year as I generally prefer the outdoors. As Thanksgiving rapidly follows daylight savings time, I find very little time to adjust my mindset to that of being in a very “thankful” mood. I believe my general discontentment led to being caught off guard by a recent chapter in the book Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges.

Bridges has a keen ability of exposing our tendency as Christians to almost surgically remove any sense of accountability for our self proclaimed “lesser” sins. With chapter labels like Discontentment, Anxiety and Frustration, Pride, Selfishness and Unthankfulness it sometimes feels like Bridges has been looking through my trash.

Our small group is currently working through the book together. It was fitting that our most recent assignment included the chapter on Unthankfulness. Consider this warning to the Israelites Bridges includes from the book of Deuteronomy;

Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God…Beware lest you say in your heart, “my power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.” You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (8:11-14, 17-18)

I know I have read this passage before, but for some reason I was deeply affected by the connection between unthankfulness and pride that just seems to jump out from these verses. Could there be a more applicable passage for us as we come upon the Thanksgiving holiday? Bridges makes the point throughout his book that we sometimes fall into the trap of labeling “bad” sins as those that affect others, while “good” sins we consider benign as they don’t harm anyone else. Unfortunately, this view flies in the face of biblical teaching.

Sins of the heart that place ourselves in the position of God seem to be especially offensive to our creator. For that reason, many theologians will argue that pride is the root of all sin as it essentially encourages us to “forget” God. Possibly the most tangible sense of our own pride may be our continual unthankfulness. Bridges cites Romans 1:21 in support of this argument. In this passage we see a connection between unthankfulness and an almost casual dismissal of the one true God.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

My hope for us this holiday season would be that our thankfulness would serve as an offering to God. However, I wouldn’t stop there. Maybe our thankfulness has the potential to also serve as the greatest weapon against our own selfish pride.

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