Repentance is an extraordinary virtue. A self-centered person, seemingly unconnected to reality or the big picture, may have difficulty being repentant for any misbehavior or short coming.
Without genuine, deeply felt repentance, a new day, a new page is always difficult to turn. If there is no flaw, no fault, what is there to mend or set straight?
To be grateful is to be thankful for a favor or benefit received. Imagine receiving a beautiful watch or a startling pair of ear rings as gifts. The lucky person would take care of the gifts, wear it on special occasions, show it to people, be careful not to misplace it, right? This is how we express our gratefulness to our gift giver.
So, how precious and pricey are our eyes, tongue, thumbs, knees, backbone, kidneys, lungs, liver, blood, immune system or the brain? Any one of them is infinitely more valuable than the priciest watch or ear rings. In fact, none of them is replaceable, unlike a watch or ear rings. The poorest person, with a long life ahead of him or her, is unlikely to trade any of these items for the riches of the world. So, how should we be disposed toward them. How should we express our gratefulness for them? And to whom?
God bestows and restricts benefits on His creatures, not as mark of anyone’s status with Him, but as a matter of trial or test to see who is the best in practice. Everyone is equal with Him.
Thus, when someone is visited with worldly success, does such a person take the road of humility, deference, circumspection, inclusion, forgiveness and mercy? Does he view the good fortune as an entitlement? Similarly, when someone is visited with misfortune, does such person a become rancorous, jealous, despondent, cutting corners, make excuses, blaming others, being plainly indignant? Does he become resigned and fatalistic? Thus, people who claim faithfulness will be tested with good times and bad times. Only people with character, humility, dignity, gratefulness and patience will rise to the top as cream rises to the top.
Sometimes we have to thank God directly, sometimes we have to thank the people around us for their kindness toward us. When we don’t thank people, we also slight God for to be acknowledged about one’s kindness is as a much a God-given right as is the right to reprimand someone for his or her meanness.
God’s mercy, in its various forms and levels, descends on people in two ways. There are somethings that everyone and everything receives. Animals, plants, insects, people, and even inanimate objects exist because God has so ordained. All living entities derive sustenance. As for humans, we have families, friends and colleagues, eyes and ears, appetites and provisions, etc. regardless of our age, gender, race, station in life, country, etc. A person in jail and a person enjoying freedom, both can hear, feel and touch.
So, there are some generic gifts that all creation share as do all humans.
However, there are some particular gifts that God bestows on the truly submitting souls according to their level of commitment, sacrifice, sincerity, honesty and devotion, for example.
To not recognize these innumerable gifts from both categories, causes us not to not only forget to be thankful about them, but also to misuse them as if we are the cause of our fundamental wellbeing.
Thus, not only are we liable to be ungrateful, but also to be proud, arrogant and clearly foolish.
It is a grateful soul who will ever feel the pinch of a gift squandered. So, it is the grateful person who can be genuinely repentant. To fix our ingrate nature and the consequences it carries, we should start by counting our blessings and stop only when we get lost doing so.
Addiction prevention and recovery requires increasing realization of our good fortune, being thankful for and protective of it, and being repentant for our misuse and abuse of our God-given gifts, and behaving as if we own our fundamental merits and endowments.