Some Thoughts on Gratitude

A POINT that has often occurred to me in considering the question of gratitude is that the real, the spiritual man in the image and likeness of God, infinite good, cannot be conceived of as experiencing the feeling of gratitude in the way that mortals commonly experience it, since the ordinary human sense of gratitude presupposes, whether we realize it or not, "the knowledge of good and evil," a "knowledge" that has no place in God's kingdom. When a man says he is grateful for something, the presumption is that he is grateful he has received it because it was quite possible that he might not have received it. This is tantamount to saying that good is limited, which is one of the false beliefs of mortals. "God," writes Mrs. Eddy, on page 2 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "is not moved by the breath of praise to do more than He has already done, nor can the infinite do less than bestow all good, since He is unchanging wisdom and Love."

It is evident, therefore, that the gratitude which the real, the spiritual man, made in the image and likeness of God, feels, is a different thing from our human sense of gratitude. The image and likeness of God is the recipient of naught but good, knows naught but good, and expects naught but good. Gratitude in his case must consequently be the eternal consciousness of the omnipresence of good, the joy of unbroken harmony and sufficiency. This aspect of gratitude gives to the word a higher, a more extended meaning, for it does not limit itself to gratitude for what has already been received, but extends itself to gratitude for the good which is ever available and demonstrable. "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me," said Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus. "And I knew that thou hearest me always."

It is for this reason that it has been said that there is no room for discouragement in the heart of a grateful man. Discouragement presupposes belief in the presence and power of evil; true gratitude is the realization of the ever presence and omnipotence of good, and it is well to remember that the realization of God's law is the enforcement of God's law. From this it is easy to understand why gratitude occupies so prominent a place in Christian Science, for it is a recognition of that presence and power of good which Christian Scientists are continually demonstrating. The person who forgets the many benefits he has received and complains because he does not seem to have received all the good he hopes for, is likely to have to wait for more until his sense of gratitude, his sense of the presence and availability of good, grows stronger. Referring to this attitude Mrs. Eddy reminds us, on page 372 of Science and Health, "If pride, superstition, or any error prevents the honest recognition of benefits received, this will be a hindrance to the recovery of the sick and the success of the student."

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

June 25, 1921

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.