In a family of seven boys and two girls, my mom and dad were very aggressive in raising us with respect and manners. Please, Thank you, Excuse me, were a part of maintaining civility and were a necessary part in building a home that worked.
Now I could tell you lots of stories of us boys settling things in a more bruising way, but we always had the restraints of respect for our parents and each other. I have often thought what was the underlying value that motivated my parents to nurture their family in respect and manners. It may surprise you when I share this particular value with you. At first, I didn't see the tie as directly either. The value that dominated the way I was trained or nurtured was the value of gratitude! It was out of gratitude that we were to respect and treat others with manners. Being grateful for the people in your life is a great foundation for respect. You respect what you value! Even when it comes to things, we practice this value. If I am grateful for my possessions I give them greater respect and will not abuse them so easily!
Gratefulness attacks our self-centredness and causes us to value things outside of us! Gratitude is a discipline of heart and perspective, because it is a discipline it can be trained! Gratefulness stops the downward spiral of focussing only on the negative of our circumstances and releases opportunity for healthier thinking! Look at how gratefulness and thankfulness caused Paul to view people!
3Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. 6And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
7So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. 8God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.
9I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Philippians 1:3-11 NLT
Imagine feeling that deeply about the people in your life that may be struggling at this particular time. Look at this next verse:
1I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.
1 Timothy 2:1 NLT
Now he expands thankfulness and gratitude for people out to all people! Our society has less civility because of a lack of gratefulness. Self-centredness grows, civility goes down. This is true in our society. but it is also true in our homes. Guess where we can start to change? So for our meditation theme the next few days we will be focussing on gratefulness!
Congratulations! One week down on Breakthrough 93!