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When Is It Okay Not To Express Gratitude?

By November 17, 2018January 27th, 2023No Comments

There’s a lot of talk every year at this time about gratitude. Some refer to this as being thankful. While that all sounds good, is there ever a time when it is appropriate not to express gratitude?

Consider the following:

Raging wildfires
Death of a loved one
Terminal diagnosis
Village overrun by terrorists
Sex trafficking victim
Broken relationship with a family member

I’m sure you can think of several more cases when you wouldn’t express gratitude for the circumstances. I know I wouldn’t.

Yet, the Bible tells us to be thankful in everything.


Is there a difference between these two words?

The dictionary definitions weren’t a lot of help, but when I looked at the synonyms, I found something.

Synonyms for thankful include contented, relieved, at peace.

Synonyms for gratitude include appreciation, recognition, or grace.

While you and I may not always be able to express gratitude in every situation, we can be thankful.

Thankfulness transcends the circumstances.

Remember, one of the synonyms for thankful is “at peace.” While the circumstances stink, Jesus promises us that in the midst of tragedy we can experience His peace. He tells us to expect difficult times. But He also promises His presence always. And in His presence is the miracle of thankfulness.

Have you observed a person who experiences tragic circumstances?

You and I understand and expect the person to be immobilized by what has happened. But, when that person shows an unearthly sense of calm and peace, we are amazed. Such a response doesn’t make sense. I believe that unlikely calm is the presence of Jesus in that person’s life, providing supernatural strength and peace just as Jesus promised.

The incredible shock and grief are still there along with the deep trust in Jesus to get them through.

Thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.
Ann Voskamp


So, this season, with its focus on gratefulness, if you find yourself wondering why you can’t join everyone else, take heart. Though you may not appreciate what is going on in your life at the moment, you can still be thankful apart from your circumstances.

Lean in to Jesus.

Spend time each day soaking in His Word, the Bible.

Talk with Him about your circumstances and allow Him to change your perspective.

Choose today to express thankfulness for what you do have.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. Albert Einstein

Today is a miracle. Look beyond your circumstances.

What one thing are you grateful for today? Leave a comment below.

Me? I’m grateful for you, my reader. Each message you send lifts my spirits.

If you need help, please reach out. I promise to listen without judgment and help you take the next step.


  • Kirsten D Samuel

    I empower Christian wives to discover they are seen, loved, and heard. These women find the freedom to be who they are beyond their partner’s struggles, and find hope that there is a life worth living.

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