Sunday, June 2, 2013


Gratitude (i.e. thankfulness, appreciation, etc) is something that is very important in life. Without it, we will be prone to bitterness, ungratefulness, selfishness, discontent, entitlement, and many other wrongful attitudes and actions. Gratitude is something I have to work at. I didn't have great examples of it growing up and still struggle with it. I believe, regardless of my past, it is a choice I can and want to make - no matter how challenging it may be for me.

Recovering well from adultery requires gratitude, too. Sounds crazy I know, but without it, you will add to your struggles to persevere and do the hard work of recovery. I am speaking from the mindset of one who betrayed his spouse. I am not grateful that I did that, though I am grateful for many things that have occurred during this process.

I have a LONG list of regrets regarding my adultery and past 16 years of marriage. My gratitude list is growing more and more each day, month, and year, though. It is difficult to feel gratitude in the "heat of the moment" when things are painful, tense, frustrating, confusing and even hostile. Gratitude is something that keeps things in perspective once the conflict has settled down a bit. Gratitude is contrary to my flesh's natural response. It helps to understand what gratitude IS NOT and what it IS. Here's a few examples:

Gratitude is NOT...
1. Ignoring the problems at hand.
2. Approving of sinful/hurtful behavior
3. Avoidance of conflict
4. Pretending there isn't a problem
5. Denial
6. Forgetting what all has happened.

Gratitude IS...
1. Thankfulness instead of ungratefulness
2. Seeing things in God's perspective rather than our own
3. Looking for the good, despite much pain and difficulty
4. Realizing there is a problem yet trying to keep God's mindset
5. Seeking God's good instead of revenge, hopelessness, etc.

James 1:12 says, "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."

Trials, difficulties, suffering, pain and hard times are going to happen in our lives. They can be a test of our commitment to God and our faith in Him. They can help us become more dependent on Christ rather than ourselves.

Sometimes our own sin causes them; sometimes other people's sin causes them. Sometimes it is just the reality of living in a fallen world on this side of Heaven. Regardless, God is still active in our world and lives. He still wants good for us. His promises are still true.

I want to remain grateful for God's faithfulness, despite my unfaithfulness. I want to remain grateful for all of the great things He has allowed to happen in my life, family and marriage, despite my sin. I sure don't deserve good things to happen to me, but I am grateful for His grace and mercy. I am grateful for my wife's courage to stay. I am grateful for our recovery and healing. I am grateful for my suffering and God's pruning of me.

How's your gratitude? I hope it is something you will incorporate into your recovery process. It takes work for sure and doesn't come naturally, but it is necessary and so helpful when done well. Allow God to mold you and shape into a more grateful person. Let Him do in You what you are not able to do yourself.

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