On one occasion, 10 lepers approached Jesus outside a village, and keeping their distance as required by law, called out in a loud voice for pity. Without exception, all lepers desire to be healed so they can be restored to society. So, one can imagine how grateful they must have been when they realized they were healed and expect them to fall over one another as they hasten to thank Jesus. Yet, only one of them turned back to thank Jesus. What happened to the other nine?
While the bible does not tell us, it could be because of a sense of entitlement, like, “hey, I suffered long enough, it is high time I got healed”. Likewise, many feel the benefits they receive are due to them, a result of their hard work, no need to be grateful to anyone else. It could also be due to bitterness. It is obvious the lepers have heard of Jesus and His miracles of healing, so perhaps the nine were questioning why didn’t Jesus come sooner, why did they have to suffer? The “Why Me?” syndrome. A third possible reason is self-centeredness. “I must hasten to get clearance from the priests so I can go to my loved ones quickly. There are so many things to do which were kept on hold because of leprosy” Thanking Jesus can come later. The “Me First” syndrome.
Is ingratitude a sin?
Paul in Romans 1:21 condemns it – “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.” According to Billy Graham, an ungrateful heart is a heart that is cold toward God and indifferent to His mercy and love. It is a heart that has forgotten how dependent we are on God for everything.
Here are some suggestions to keep our hearts from turning cold. First, every Sunday before joining a worship service, set aside 15 minutes to write down all the blessings, great and small, you received the past week, and give thanks to God. Was the fact that you were given a brand new day to live included in your list of blessings? Second, when was the last time you thanked God for His salvation work through Jesus Christ our Lord? Third, thank God for His continued presence and power in our sanctification process. Philippians 2:13 assures us that “(for) it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose”