“Ingratitude is some one’s protest that you are no longer necessary to him; it is often the expression of rebellion at the discontinuance of favors. People are rarely ungrateful until they have exhausted their assessments. Profuse expressions of gratitude do not cancel an indebtedness any more than a promissory note settles an account. It is a beginning, not a finality. Gratitude that is extravagant in words is usually economical in all other expression.” ~ William George Jordan
In a world where love and blessing are treated as a commodity, where favors are traded instead of given freely, people are desperate to maintain a favorable trade balance so as not to become too indebted to and thus at the mercy of, another. Rather than live righteously, they “cook the books” using any number of tactics to create the appearance of parity in an inherently imbalanced system of payments.
Some are terrified of the game. They keep to themselves, taking great pains neither to extend nor receive favors, eschewing both giving and receiving. Others spend an inordinate amount of time digging themselves out of debt with their support network in the good times, after gorging themselves on the credit offered during the bad. Most seem to be forever trying to catch up, to get their head above water, borrowing more favors than they ever would dare to give out.
Your book of life is not meant to be an accounting ledger. Accounting has its purpose, but when it becomes the means by which life is lived, it is overreaching its purpose. Your book of life is meant to be a living record of the blessings you have sown while here on earth. Each blessing given goes out, interacts with the world around you and eventually makes its way back, albeit in a different and often unrecognizable form.
I’ve known many people who became ungrateful because the blessings they put forth did not come back to them in the timing or the form they had anticipated. Such a reaction gives evidence of an underlying limiting assumption, namely, that true giving is conditional. This basic assumption has created more sad and unfortunate endings than just about any other out there.
Sure there is ample evidence of the abuse of blessings and favors out there, but that is not reason to withhold your own. In fact, it should compel you to give more, in an effort to break the cycle of abuse. Withholding, withdrawing and shutting down in reaction to a perceived injustice only perpetuates the cycle of abuse.
Scan your world for a moment. Consider your relationships with those around you, whether they be close or distant. How do you think about them? Is there any indication that you have been keeping notations in a ledger book as to who owes whom what? If so, ask yourself “am I willing to let this book be thrown into the fire of my love for all people, great and small?” Are you willing to cook the books, once and for all?
Believe me, this is a freeing exercise.
The question is, will you dare to try it?