The Courage to Face Ingratitude XIV

The essence of truest kindness lies in the grace with which it is performed. Some men seem to discount all gratitude, almost make it impossible, by the way in which they grant favors. They make you feel so small, so mean, so inferior; your cheeks burn with indignation in the acceptance of the boon you seek at their hands. You feel it is like a bone thrown at a dog, instead of the quick, sympathetic graciousness that forestalls your explanations and waives your thanks with a smile, the pleasure of one friend who has been favored with the opportunity to be of service to another. The man who makes another feel like an insect reclining on a red-hot stove while he is receiving a favor, has no right to expect future gratitude,—he should feel satisfied if he receives forgiveness.” ~ William George Jordan

He who is truly righteous seeks not to lord his goodness over another, rather, he takes aim in a way that the blessing he seeks to offer is most likely to hit its mark. This is the essence of the injunction to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

He who takes goodness into his own hands, twisting it to conform to his own purposes is he who is no longer a force of good, but a do-gooder, no longer virtuous, but a goody two-shoes. In my estimation, self-righteousness on the part of the so-called “good” religious adherents and secular law-abiding citizens has done more damage to the reputation of goodness than all of the foci of evil throughout history.

You can be incredibly kind and unfailingly gracious without donning the robe of self-righteousness. To do so your heart must be pure, your intentions must be genuine and your approach must take into account the many twists and turns in the consciousness of those in your field of influence, (as well as your own!). He who would seek to be good never forces his opinion upon another, neither does he require anything in exchange.

On a final note, take care not to discount the gratitude of others. Even though you do not require gratitude in exchange for your favors, you are wise to receive any thanks offered with humility and appreciation, for such a gesture completes the circuit of blessing. Refusing to accept the gratitude of others is as much an impediment to the expansion of goodness in the earth as not offering blessings at all.

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8 Responses to The Courage to Face Ingratitude XIV

  1. Coco says:

    Graciousness is the spirit of love that surrounds all giving. I appreciated your thoughts on the completion of the circuit of blessing.

  2. Ricardo B. says:

    Yep, sometimes a simple descriptive is a misleading one as in the use of the word ‘good’. An act of good is only as good as its proximity to virtue. There are many fascimiles of goodness that are donned, and like you say, they sure can contribute to the world’s problems. I have looked at this eery phenomena in my own life, and what has helped me is when I begin to observe a problem in the world round about – say with politics or some other human affair – I take some time to reflect to myself how much of what I do not like and do not agree with I may be uwittingly participating in, contributing to it with some blind bias or flaw of character, in principle. Ruthless introspection along with a supple heart can help with many an ailment of self-righteousness.
    I say to let the force of good always have its way, and we need to do our part to ensure its very survival, enabling its movement and certainly completing its circuit if we are fortunate enough to find ourselves on the receiving end. In all things, look for thanksgiving.

  3. Melissa Hake says:

    This is one of those posts that has so many points that you don’t want to miss.
    Thanks for another great post!!

  4. TW says:

    It is an interesting perspective that is worthy if great consideration. The difference between someone who “does good” and a ” do gooder”. Our relationships are mired with the twisted concerns of self righteousness and ingratitude. What a peaceful loving world we could create right at our front door just by allowing the circuit of blessing to be complete; giving and recieving blessings naturally, unconcerned with tallying up the score or reminding others of all the “good” you have done. I love this line, “The man who makes another feel like an insect reclining on a red-hot stove while he is receiving a favor, has no right to expect future gratitude,—he should feel satisfied if he receives forgiveness.” ~ William George Jordan

    Thanks for having the courage to shed lift of specific bits of human nature that should be outed and healed properly.

  5. DeeDee Miller says:

    Wow I never thought of it this way. If “the buck stops here” then we are capable of stopping one thing as well as another. This is a wake up call to not let the spirit of goodness be stopped through me by ingratitude or a false plastering of seeming goodness. A lot to really scrutinize here. Thank you for this post and all preceding it in this series.

  6. David R says:

    These are nourishing thoughts. Love blesses because of its own nature, not from any motivation of supposed grandeur or misplaced ego. The seeds of kindness and concern for the wellbeing of others should be sown constantly and almost unconsciously. To bless ohters, to make their load lighter, to appreciate and enhance the right in them should be the most natural thing.

  7. Colin says:

    The description here of the difference between helping others because they owe you something or helping others because you are in a position to be able to is very clear. Mr. Jordan’s depiction of the person that belittles you when they provide a favor is a sad story, but what is equally sad is what that kind of attitude does to the belittler. Taking that kind of attitude really sucks the small joys out of your life. Every favor is tallied and marked, and you lose the spontaneity in life as well as the friendships that you can make only by the completed “circuit of giving”. A life without this is hardly a life worth living.

  8. Brigitte says:

    Thank you for another wonderful post!

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