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Opinion

A different ‘ingrate’

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

The term recently hit social media after word was leaked out that a certain congressman, who is currently well-related, had upstaged his more senior political mentor and sponsor in the run for speaker of the House of Representatives.

I’m just using the story as a jump off on the word “ingrate” for today’s column because by and large, Filipinos have associated the word in terms of “utang na loob” or a culturally-based debt of gratitude. When one is labeled as “ingrate” with an old Spanish sting to it, you are essentially cursed, written off as unfit company unless you manage to redeem yourself by groveling on the ground as an act of remorse or by way of an extravagant gift. It’s all part of being human, not to mention being Filipino, where it is also part of our cultural drama.

There is, however, another version where being an “ingrate” is not as scandalous, where curses are not hurled or rained down inclusive of spittle and saliva but affects our relationship with someone very important and often results in the pond of fortune drying up.

These past few days, I noticed that the word “thanksgiving” had a recurring presence or mention, so I took time out to reflect on it. When it comes to saying prayers before meals, I confess that I am 50-50 erratic. But yesterday, just before breakfast, my wife and I started with a prayer and in the middle of it I came to the realization that many people spend so much time praying for God’s help, things they need, divine intercession, etc. but fail to balance it out with prayers of thanksgiving.

From there, I looked back at the many answered prayers that God has given me over the last two years and, if put together, they would be a bundle of real miracles. People we prayed for have gone through their chemo sessions and have been cleared, several near critical and severely critical COVID victims are now back on the saddle. People with urgent financial needs have been met by God where no man or mere mortal could single-handedly intercede. The list goes on. People asking for prayers for more work, prayers for a list of special kids and their caregivers, widows, workers, friends, etc. Yes, God has answered many of them in his perfect time.

The question is, in our haste to move on or get back in the game, do we forget who fixed us up or enabled us to get back in the game of life? I am reminded of the time when Jesus met ten lepers who asked him to heal them and Jesus said OK, go and show yourselves to the temple elders. On the way, they were all healed and one of the lepers turned back to thank Jesus, who asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:17) Jesus was clearly teaching his disciples about how people tend to just move on after getting fixed.

By divine coincidence or guidance, I came across a podcast of Steve Harvey that I copied and shortened to share:

“Appreciation and Gratitude are the key to having more. Your genuine appreciation and gratitude have been the key to you having more for your continued blessings and for making room for heaven to open up and pour out blessings that you don’t have enough room to receive.

“If God has given you blessings and all you’re doing is complaining about it, you never show any appreciation or gratitude about it, why would he give you some more stuff to be ungrateful for? Why would he give you some more stuff to complain about? Why would he give you some more stuff that you would not show any more appreciation for?

“This thing is real simple man, ain’t it, if you think about it. So, a lot of times when I was going through my positions of not having it and wondering about it, I ended up checking myself and going: man, I’m not even showing any gratitude or appreciation for the things He has done for me.

“Start showing some appreciation and gratitude ’cause it’s the key to having more. It’s the key to continued blessings, it’s the key to the windows of heaven opening up and pouring out a blessing that you won’t have room enough to receive. It’s the appreciation and gratitude of what you already have. As minimal as it may appear to be right now for you, it is still what you have. But if you show no gratitude for the minimal, why would He give you the maximum?

“I had gotten so busy at one point that I began to complain about how busy I was. I had begun to complain about the business and how busy I was, and I noticed that a couple of things slowed up for me, so I got to the point where I wasn’t showing real gratitude for it. Well, I looked up and a couple of things started slowing down and then I had to catch myself and I went: Wow man, you have to start embracing the fact that you are this busy, embrace all that comes with it because to whom much is given, much is required. You have to embrace the requirement part if you want to continue with the giving part.

“So, I changed my attitude, I caught myself and I started thanking Him and showing real gratitude for how busy I was instead of complaining about how busy I was. And then guess what, it opened up the windows of heaven and some more blessings poured out. You gotta act like you’re glad for what you have in order to get more.”

Yes, we can be “ingrates” without even realizing it. Instead of jumping right into your prayers before meals, at sunrise or bedtime, try saying “Thank You” first of all.

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