一颗感恩的心 A grateful heart


Nearing the end of 2011, a friend shared the 365grateful project on Facebook, started in 2008 by a lady who was really down. She was told then that the secret to happiness was reflection and gratitude, which led her to record each night something about the day that she was thankful for. Soon, she began to notice things that she would otherwise have missed and realized how special these little moments were. As a result, she developed a more positive outlook, and started the 365grateful website to spread the practice so that more people can benefit from it.

When I first learnt of this project, I was also feeling down. Having returned a few months earlier after spending a year overseas, there were many adjustments to be made. To prevent myself from wallowing in self-pity, I decided to give this a try, recording daily something for which I was thankful. Having continued the project till this day, with some breaks in between, I am beginning to understand the importance of a grateful heart.

Four years down the road since I started, it was only recently that I discovered the importance of gratitude and the Christian faith. To put it simply, if we truly understand the cost of our salvation, we would be grateful to God’s immeasurable love for us; if we truly understand how sinful and unforgivable we are, we would be humbled by God’s grace and mercy toward us; if we truly believe that everything is in God’s hands, how can we not be thankful to a God who is almighty?

Romans 5:8 tells us that, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is a comforting passage for many of us, reassuring us of God’s love. However, we often missed out a significant fact, that while we were still sinners, we were God’s “enemies” (Romans 5:10), which means God literally died for his enemies. Examining this from human perspective, it is truly mind-boggling. The depth of God’s love for His people is unimaginable. And what have we done to deserve this marvellous love? Nothing. Can we ever earn this love? No. We receive this love when we believe, as simple as that. This grace that has been shown to us, should we not be thankful?

In life, we work hard and take pride in our work, basking in the glory of our achievements. Yet, when we take a step back and consider, we realize that we cannot quite claim these successes as our own. For if God did not bless us with gifts and talents, what can we accomplish; if not for our God-given personalities and experiences, are we still who we are? John 15:5 teaches that, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” We must always bear in mind that the successes we enjoy in this world, be in our academics, career or family, are all blessings from God. It is thus only right for us to be thankful and give all glory to God.

Being thankful is more than paying lip service; it demands action on our part. Knowing that we are nothing apart from God, enables us to embrace others without prejudice. Knowing that we are as flawed as the next person, as prone to making mistakes as they are, enables us to be gracious when others make mistakes, allowing people around us to encounter the love of God through our lives. Simply put, a thankful heart allows us to extend grace to others and thus express God’s grace for His people.

We might think that it would be near impossible for us to express this love and grace to those who have hurt us. Many a times, this is due to us putting the focus on our wounds instead of on God. No one can be more wronged and wounded than Christ, yet he not only forgave our sins but also went on the cross for us so that we may be set free. And if we claim to have received, how can such love and grace not flow out of our lives? And if we claim to be his followers, why do we still find it so hard to forgive?

In conclusion, a thankful heart continually reminds us of God’s love, grace and sovereignty, enabling us to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Note: First written on Apr 14, 2015 in Mandarin and subsequently translated into English


2011年末,我的好友在面书分享了一个《365天都感恩》的活动。这个活动是由一名女子于2008年发起。当时她患有忧郁症,十分消极,后来有人告诉她快乐的秘诀在于反思和感恩,她因此开始每天记录一天下来令她感恩的人事物。很快地,她开始注意到一些往往被遗漏的生活小细节、开始注意到那些容易被忽略的珍贵回忆。她因此变得正面积极,尔后发起了《365天都感恩》这个活动,希望更多人能获益。

得知这个活动时的我刚从国外回来,生活上还在调整适应中,日子不难过但也称不上如意。为了避免自己钻牛角尖,我决定响应这个非常“刻意感恩“的号召,每天在自己的面书分享一天下来让我感恩的人事物。虽然中间有间断,但坚持到了今天,我渐渐明白一颗感恩的心的重要性。

虽然我参与这个活动已经有四年之久,但我是直到最近才发现,一颗感恩的心对基督徒来说是多么的重要。或许我应该这么说,如果我们真的明白救恩的价值,我们会感恩神的大爱;如果我们认清自己多么罪不可赦,我会感恩神的慈悲和怜悯;如果我们确信一切都在神的掌握之中,我们岂能不感恩神的大能呢?后知后觉的我非常感恩神早在2011年就在为我建造一个感恩的心。

罗马书5:8提到“唯有基督在我们还作罪人的时候为我们死,神对我们的爱就在此显明了。”这是一句大部分基督徒都非常熟悉话,我们常用这句话自我安慰,常从这句话中找到慰籍。但我们总是忽略了它更重大的意义——当我们还作罪人的时候,我们其实是神的“仇敌”(罗马书5:10),所以严格来说,神是为了祂的仇敌死了。从人的角度去思想,这是多么不可思议、多么伟大、多么深切的爱,这是一份只有神才能给予的爱,而我们什么都不用做,只要信就能得着这份爱。这么庞大的恩典,不值得我们感恩吗?

生活中,我们多少会为自己的努力感到骄傲、为自己所努力得来的成果感到自豪,而我们鲜少反思——我们的成功真的是我们自己的吗?如果没有神给予我们的恩赐和才干,我们能如此行吗?如果神给了我们不一样的性格或人生经历,我们还是我们吗?约翰福音15:5告诉我们:“我是葡萄树,你们是枝子。住在我里面的,我也住在他里面,他就结出很多果子;因为离开了我,你们就不能作甚么。“ 我们不可忘却,我们在世上所成就的一切,无论是学业、事业,还是家庭,都是神给予我们的恩典,所以我们只能感恩,把一切荣耀归于神。

活出感恩的心不单只是嘴巴说说而已,而是要付诸行动的。因为深知自己什么都不是,我们在面对他人时不带批判或歧视,面对别人犯错我们深知自己也会犯错,宽容以待,让我们身边的人透过我们的言行举止感受神对他们的爱。简单的说,怀着感恩的心让我们能严以待己却宽以待人,彰显神的恩典。

对于曾带给我们伤痛的人,我们或许会觉得很难做到这一点。很多时候,我们把目光焦距在自己所受的伤害。但试想想,谁会比神更伤心?我们所受的伤虽然真切,却远不及神所受的,但祂还是原谅了我们,为我们上十字架,赦免我们的罪。如果我们真领受了这份恩典,如果我们真的因为得着祂的爱而感恩,我们的心中为何没有爱,无法赦免伤害我们的人?

总的来说,一个感恩的心时刻提醒我们神的爱、恩典和大能,让我们“凡事包容,凡事相信,凡事盼望,凡事忍耐”。(哥林多前书13:7)

写于2015年4月14日

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