“Raising our ability to appreciate how other people are beneficial in our lives has a downstream consequence of changing the way we relate to strangers.” -Todd Kashdan
What is the Theology?
For preachers who promote justice, community, and unity in what often feels like a largely divided society, the role of gratitudes may seem surprising. Yet, perhaps churches should come to expect a relationship between gratitude and trust. Trust in, and gratitude for, God are often connected in the Psalms, especially in Psalm 33 in which the author proclaims, “Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name” (Ps. 33:21). Even more, in nine of his 13 letters, the Apostle Paul explicitly expresses gratitude toward God and toward the recipient churches, even as he seeks to establish healthy, trusting communities (e.g. 1-2 Cor.).
What to Consider
- What sorts of “gratitude interventions” (i.e. practices of gratitude) guide your life and ministry? What practice or “intervention” might you start implementing today?
- How do you understand the relationship between gratitude and trust? Where have you seen gratitude building unity in society or in your church community? Where have you seen ingratitude contribute to a lack of trust in your life or within your church community?
- Today, where in society might your parishioners be witnessing a lack of trust and a lack of gratitude? How can your sermon utilize this science on gratitude and trust to speak hope and truth into their lives?
How to go Deeper
- Challenge yourself and your preaching audience to keep gratitude journals much like those in this study. After some time, create space in your worship service for participants to reflect on and share about the experience.
- Introduce gratitude journals to your family, children’s and youth ministries thereby instilling practices that may become habits for young persons who will soon lead and shape society.
- Add depth and practicality to your sermon by providing your community with even more scientifically informed gratitude practices. In addition, share the science behind some practices that might get in the way of gratitude.
What is the Science? While the benefits of forgiveness are widely supported by two decades of research, a recent study seeks to demonstrate the positive impact of forgiveness within the specific context of [...]
What is the Science? Often the catalyst for receiving forgiveness is offering a good apology. Yet, in her article “The Three Parts of an Effective Apology,” Christine Carter suggests that all apologies are [...]
What is the Science? After victimization, many people desire vengeance. In well-publicized atrocities, such as the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing or the 2012 Colorado movie theater shooting, prosecutors, the public, and victims’ families [...]
What is the Science? Forgiveness is a difficult thing. It can take a great amount of time and work to arrive at a place where we can let go of hostility and [...]
Which Contributes More to Forgiveness, Sympathy or Free Will?
Article by Michael McCullough (2013)
Read the Full Article
What is the Science? Psychologist Michael McCullough suggests that when humans consider forgiving others they instinctively engage in one of two distinct systems for arriving at forgiveness: sympathy or free will. McCullough argues [...]
What is the Science? Research has long suggested that if a person carries a prolonged grievance they risk adverse health effects. Now, a new study suggests that one’s determination to hold a grudge [...]