Since Adam and Eve first sinned, felt ashamed, and hid from God in the Garden of Eden, humans tend to read their negative emotions as a problem. The misreading of our emotions contributes to problems like broken relationships, alcohol and other drug abuse, and mental disorders.
The emotions aren’t the problem.
God designed us to experience negative emotions for a purpose. When doing their job they serve as a warning system to protect us from loss. When doing their job, they serve as a warning system to protect us from loss. Loss of life, loss of health, loss of relationships, and loss of resources.
God’s design is that negative emotions should prompt us to turn toward Jesus and His words to help us solve whatever problem triggered negative emotions.
Sometimes there’s a real problem, sometimes the problem is our own thinking. In either case, Jesus provides the solution.
For this, we can be grateful.
Luke tells the story of Jesus walking into a village where 10 lepers called out to Him from a distance, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
These men were responding to negative emotions that told them they needed something they didn’t have.
Perhaps they felt shame and hopelessness.
Shame because they had lost status, the sense of belonging, resources and security they once had.
Hopelessness because they could no longer dream of a life without the losses that accompany leprosy.
The lepers must have heard that Jesus had healed others, lifting people out of whatever despair their lives had fallen into.
In spite of their shame, they dared to hope in Jesus.
In response to the lepers’ pleas for mercy, Jesus gave them a command, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”
Every command of Jesus possesses the power needed to fulfill that command.
So, as the lepers obeyed by turning to walk toward the Temple at Jerusalem, their bodies previously scarred by leprosy now restored with new flesh.
One of those 10 men received more than the other nine when he turned back and toward Jesus, fell to his face at Jesus’ feet, and thanked Jesus for what He had done. Jesus added a special blessing when he said, “your faith has made you whole!”
In the original Greek, the word used by Jesus for “whole” Implies both physical and spiritual restoration.
This gift was received only by this man who expressed gratitude for physical healing.
God designed us to express gratitude as an essential ingredient to physical and spiritual healing. Gratitude is so important to our well-being that God instructed Moses to teach the Hebrews the necessity of expressing gratitude. Through Moses, God established thanksgiving offerings as part of the sacrificial system that foreshadowed the ministry of Jesus.
Gratitude is a powerful antidote prescribed by God to wipe away any negative emotion. Gratitude takes us outside of ourselves and turns our attention from dwelling upon our problems to the blessings God has already provided.
Gratitude must be expressed to something outside of ourselves. Try expressing gratitude to yourself. It can’t be done. In God’s design gratitude should be offered only to God and to people.
In this way, gratitude is an expression of charitable love—loving God and our neighbors.
It comes as no surprise, then, that researchers have discovered people who make a habit of expressing gratitude improve their life satisfaction and their relationships. That’s what love does.
Make time every day to show your appreciation for God and the people around you by saying thank you—your spouse, your children, people you cross paths with throughout the day. As you do it, specify what they do that inspires your gratitude.
Developed into a habit gratitude is positively life changing for you and the people around you.