March 24, 2014
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalms 51:10-12
There are two sides to every story.
According to New Jersey's 18-year-old Rachel Canning, her parents had abandoned her and thereby forced her into living with another family for the last four months. She maintains that during those four months her parents never contacted her or supported her financially.
Canning's parents tell the story with a little different slant. They say she left home after they had cut off her car and cell phone use as well as her boyfriend privileges. This they had done because Canning, normally a good student, had been suspended from her Catholic High School.
As you may have heard, Canning took her parents to court in hope of obtaining emergency support money, so she might finish high school and go to college. In rebuttal, her parents said, "If you really want to be on your own, you can be on your own. Don't expect us to subsidize you."
To make a long story short, the judge found in favor of Canning's parents. Now, after a conversation which hasn't been shared, Canning has moved back home and, Lord willing, everything is going to be better than it has been.
Do you remember what your first reaction was when you heard that story on the news? In all probability, most of you felt that Canning had come down with a severe case of ingratitude.
If so, she would hardly be the first. Indeed, I can't think of too many people who haven't been bitten by that bug. Consider our first parents, Adam and Eve. God had given them a perfect world, and they couldn't find it in themselves to be appreciative. No, they thought they knew better than God and could make some improvements.
The introduction of sin and death into the world showed they hadn't made the wisest of decisions.
Of course, ingratitude didn't stop with those two. Most of us have had moments when we were unappreciative of all we have been given. Listen to the prayers at church on Sunday morning. How many of those ask the Lord to give people something ... and how many of those prayers thank the Lord for blessings already in place? Now there's nothing wrong with asking the Lord for stuff, I just think the asking side and the thanking side ought to be more balanced.
If that balance is going to be restored, we will need to leave that ingratitude stuff behind, so the Holy Spirit may bring about a reconciliation between God and man.
Of course, that idea isn't new. The psalmist asked for that very thing when he prayed, "Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me." He was talking about a "right spirit," which says, "Thank You Lord, for my Savior and Your manifold, unending blessings."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive my ingratitude. Instead, give me a new heart that is filled with joy in Jesus and all the other temporal and eternal blessings His sacrifice gives. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries