"We ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled..." ~ II Thes. 2:2 *** "But stir up the gift of God that is within you by the laying on of hands..." ~ II Tim. 1:6

Tag: anger

Unthankful: Is Ingratitude the Root of Most Sins?

In a previous post about controlling anger, I mentioned that I’d eventually realized that most of the anger I was dealing with stemmed from being unthankful for the many blessings God had given me. And it’s no wonder—we live in an unthankful and entitled society, where everyone takes and believes they have not only the right, but they deserve to have the best. But this is not a mindset Christians are to have, and we have to guard carefully against it. In my previous article, I stated the (rarely-mentioned) opinion that unthankfulness is a major sin, and I want to explore that thought a little further.

Is being unthankful a “little” sin?

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. “I know the major sins—things like murder, adultery, lying, blaspheming—and unthankfulness isn’t anywhere near that!” It’s true that the actual word “unthankful” is only used twice in the bible (KJV), so it’s easy to assume that it’s a minor issue in the grand scheme of things. However, the symptoms of unthankfulness—such as covetousness and anger—are addressed often and in great detail, and we have to be careful about thinking of them as “minor” sins. As Gary Petty often says in his sermons, we usually think of “major” sins as the ones with the greatest outward consequences (like murder) and “minor” ones as the ones that “aren’t that bad” (like gossip). But God doesn’t make those kinds of distinctions. Sin is sin, and all sin results in death if not repented of. And while the outward consequences of unthankfulness aren’t as apparent at first, they still eat away at you bit-by-bit until you die.

Let’s look at the most well-known scripture about unthankfulness:

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (II Tim. 3:1-5)

That’s a lot of bad crammed into a few verses! And “unthankful” is hanging out right next to “unholy”, which is a pretty bad one, so you can’t argue that this list is all “minor” sins. The other verse specifically using the word “unthankful” occurs in Luke 6:35 where Jesus is instructing His disciples on being good to their enemies, for God “is kind to the unthankful and evil.” So even worse, unthankfulness and evil are lumped together in this one. Maybe unthankfulness and its symptoms are a bigger deal than we think?

Controlling Anger

A while back I was re-listening to a sermon by Gary Petty in the “Agape” series (search by his name, they’re on the last page), the one on not being provoked. In it, he was talking about the difference between being angry, which is not inherently wrong or sinful, and how we react to or express our anger—which often is.

Anger is something I’ve always struggled with. Not blinding rage, per se, just extreme frustration with people, things, and situations. I learned at a young age to keep a choke chain on my temper, because when I was hurt I’d end up saying purposefully hurtful things (and I do have a way with words), things I would never say otherwise. As an adult, it hadn’t been as much of an issue until several years ago, when I was going through a period of extreme frustration with my job and life, and just felt angry all the time.

Anger–the emotion vs. what it drives us to do

Satan knows all the right buttons to push to send me on a downward mental spiral of frustration and anger—generally it has to do with being frustrated over what I see as someone else’s awesome life or career (which I think I deserve), or anger at how a certain situation went or someone treated me. Chances are, he knows your buttons too. I sit and run over it in my mind, totally destroying my mood and getting more and more angry. Basically, I make his job easy.

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