Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Beauty, Children, Determination, Discipleship, Faith, Generosity, Giving, God, Happiness, Health, Jesus Christ, Love, Parenthood, Perseverance, Racism, Relationships, Sharing, Success, Taking Responsibility, The Family, Truth, Willpower, Work

I’m thankful for…

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving.

This has always been a sore spot for me ever since my second year of high school. That’s the time that I learned about the betrayal and almost destruction of an entire race of people at the hands of the Pilgrims.

Since that time, I’ve learn to find good in a day marked to celebrate their evil. Thanksgiving is somewhat like the Trojan horse. Both involved a festive occasion marred by betrayal and a massacre.

But there is hope.

Instead of thinking about the historic events that make this holiday ugly, I choose to be thankful.

I am thankful that I knew to make the most of my opportunities.

I’m thankful that I didn’t have circumstances like abuse, grief, drugs or poverty to hinder me from seeing the potential in myself.

I’m thankful for all the people who are close to me. I’m thankful for their love and understanding. I’m thankful for their friendship and kindness. And mostly I’m thankful that these people formed a hedge around me to ensure that I  knew I was loved and shielded from hurt.

I’m thankful for my parents. I am what I am because of the parents I have. And even though they were not perfect, they turned me into the best me I could be.

I’m thankful for my race. Despite the tragedy and racism that still takes place, I am proud of the contributions of my race, the rich tradition of the African culture and our resilience. I still pray that more African Americans will come to know this truth. #cutitoutFerguson

I am thankful to everyone who has ever disciplined me. I needed it and I realize how evil it is for others to go around not disciplining those in their scope of influence. Every child needs discipline and one of the problems in our school systems is that they lack discipline.

I’m thankful to every man that has been or who is currently in my life. You have taught me about a very diverse brotherhood that I am thankful for. The closeness, intimacy and trust we share has made me the strong heterosexual man I am today. I am blessed to be able to draw from brothers who are White, Indian, Cuban, German and Black.

I’m especially thankful for every woman who has ever built a relationship with me. You taught me love and respect the right way and made me less of a dog. I learned how to be intimate without having sex and I learned to appreciate beauty.

I am very thankful for the three children I have. They are all little models of me. I’m learning so much from them. They make me a better man.

I’ve saved the best for last. I am most thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ. All of who I am and who I hope to be rests in Him. Christ, you represent all for me and I love you with every inch of who I am.

Please take time to share your thanks with the people who have earned it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Accountability, Change, Discipleship, Faith, Giving, God, Mind Power, Relationships, Sharing, Taking Responsibility

Gratitude vs. Thanks

image

I was unaware of the symbol for gratitude. Of course, Eastern culture exhibits the symbol as much a we see stop signs here.

Gratefulness and thankfulness each have its purpose, but have you ever viewed these words as levels of maturity? What I mean is a child will mimic what you say to him, but there will be no emotion behind it and that’s because there is not much intellect behind it. Imitation is what children do and it seems that some people never grow past mimicking.

We are taught by our parents to say thank you when someone does something for us. We say thank you as a sign of respect. We do it because it’s the “right” thing to do.

We grow up and understand thankfulness in the context that we learned it as a child. Thankful means to be glad or relieved that someone did something for us. That is a great thing to understand — when you are a kid.

Gratitude seems to be the next level because it means that you understand what has been done for you and you want to express an inward feeling outwardly. You want to do something because you are moved by what someone else has done for you.

Wow! That is different!

image

So ultimately our faith must do better than rest at thankfulness because faith without works is dead. So if we understand what God has done for us, then our actions should speak for us.

So if I am grateful for God’s unconditional love then I will give it to someone else. If I am grateful that God has forgiven me, then there is no way I don’t forgive. If I am grateful that God’s grace saves me from a state where I could not save myself, then why would I not be so grateful as to learn of him and shout from the roof top telling others about him?

Thankful appreciates. Grateful expresses the appreciation. Thankful shines with a smile. Grateful is a call to action.

Therefore, I need to be grateful instead of thankful. I need to be more of a doer and not just a hearer that my faith and trust in God may be displayed before the world.

I give God my thanks regularly, but I need to let him and everyone else know that I am grateful.