The Problem of an Ingratitude Attitude (And How to Solve It)


I had to laugh at a cartoon I saw about a beggar sitting on a sidewalk, tin cup in front of him, and a sign beside him that said, “Please help me!” A passerby felt sorry for him and dropped a couple of coins into the cup. The beggar looked up at him with surprise and complained, “Where’s my tip?” (jantoo cartoons)

While the beggar should have been grateful for the two coins, he still wasn’t satisfied. He didn’t show any gratitude for what he received. He wanted more.

Do you know persons like this?

An ingratitude attitude is a sign of the times. Gary Bauer, president of American Values and chairman of Campaign for Working Families, wrote in the Washington Examiner,

“Gratitude doesn’t seem to come easily these days. We live at a time and in a culture that values grievance over gratefulness, presents over presence, and selfies over selflessness. Pessimism abounds about the state of the country and the condition of the culture. It’s tempting to feel unthankful, resentful, and downright embittered.” (“Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving in a Time of Ingratitude,” 11/23/17)

The ingratitude attitude of many is an example of the “perilous” or “difficult” times prevalent in “the last days” before Jesus returns. Writing his second letter to his young colleague, Timothy, the apostle says,

“But understand this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, savage, opposed to what is good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God. They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power. So avoid people like these,” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, New English Translation, NET).

Notice that “ingratitude” is listed smack dab toward the middle of other ungodly issues adding up to “difficult times” in “the last days.” Ingratitude is a key indicator that shows why people are selfish, covetous, undisciplined, malicious, immoral, hypocritical, and so forth, as Paul points out. Those who have an unthankful attitude will reveal it by actions that result in an insecure, unstable, and divided society.

Like Bauer says,

“Our kids are busier, more stressed out, and more anxious than those of any other recent generation. We are expected to accomplish more in every area of life and to prove how wonderful it all is by constantly posting it on social media. Opinions polls show Americans are not happy with their core institutions, with their politicians, and with the direction of their country.” (ibid)

I find it ironical that so many should be so dissatisfied given that we have so many things for which to be thankful. And I’m not just talking about all the material things we possess. We are spoiled compared to the larger portion of the world in that regard.

Materialism, aside, it would do well if more would sincerely show gratitude for the freedom we have as a nation, for those willing to come to our aid in times of need, for opportunities to learn, for the love of family, friends, and the church family, too. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The greatest thing that we ALL should be thankful for is the way God our Heavenly Father so abundantly showers his blessings on us even though, because of sin, we do not deserve them.

In Luke 6:34 and 35, Jesus made an astonishing statement about God’s kindness, even toward those who have an ingratitude attitude:

“And if you lend to those from whom you hope to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, so that they may be repaid in full. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to ungrateful and evil people,” (NET).

Jesus reminds us that no matter how ungrateful people are, God still blesses them. (e.g., Matthew 5:45). And, with that in mind, he shows how much more important it is for us to love our enemies and be kind even to them “expecting nothing back.” Do you know people with an attitude that if they do a good deed for someone—even someone they don’t necessarily like—they expect it “quid pro quo?” According to the scriptures, Jesus highly discourages this kind of attitude, doesn’t he?

By the way, Luke 6:35 and 2 Timothy 3:2 are the only two Bible references of the same Greek word (acharistos) for “ungrateful” or “unthankful.” It literally means, “ungraceful”. So, for example, when you say “grace” or prayer at the table, you are really saying to God how thankful you are for your meal.

It’s sad to see people showing their attitude of ingratitude when they dig into their food without even so much as a “thank-you” to the One who blessed them with it in the first place. While some might think that neglecting prayer before a meal is not a serious issue, that in itself shows their attitude. And, as I’ve already shown, it illustrates how low humanity will go which is in reality a crime of its own. And it stems from a decline in respecting religious values.

In fact, regarding our two references, one commentator wrote,

“Ingratitude has always been regarded as one of the worst of crimes. It is said here that it would characterize that wicked age of which the apostle speaks, and its prevalence would, as it always does, indicate a decline of religion. Religion makes us grateful to every benefactor – to God, and to man.” (Barnes Notes on the Bible, as cited in

The problem of an ingratitude attitude could easily be solved. Taking our minds off ourselves and on to God and others would be a good start. Like the Psalmist declared, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples…!” (Psalm 105:1, New American Standard Bible, NASB).

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
And Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

P.S. Here’s a song in Scripture, “Oh, Give Thanks to the LORD” (Christian Praise Worship w/ Lyrics) by Esther Mui:

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