Is Gratitude Nothing More Than a Thoughtless Feeling?

The following is an edited transcription of the audio.

Is gratitude nothing more than a thoughtless feeling?

Gratitude is a feeling, not a thought. If you don't feel it then you don't have it. Yet it must also be thought about, because if we have gratitude for the wrong things then thinking about it can help us figure out how to change.

I don't mean by calling gratitude a feeling that we are victims and unable to alter our feelings. But I want to stress, for those who think that Christianity is just commitments and decisions, that gratitude—which is at the heart of Christianity—is clearly something that you feel or you don't. If you get a gift that you don't want, you don't feel gratitude for the gift no matter how much you think about it.

Therefore I affirm that gratitude is a feeling and an affection. But we should think about it so that our affections become focused on the things that really count and we become thankful for them.

Thumb author john piper

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

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