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Feb. 11, 2013

The Poison of Ingratitude

I’ve mentioned before my appreciation for Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. This passage from her book was one of many that stuck out to me.


Ultimately, in his essence Satan is an ingrate. And he sinks his venom into the heart of Eden. Satan’s sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave.

Isn’t that the catalyst of all my sins?

Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.

FruitStanding before that tree, laden with fruit withheld, we listen to Evil’s murmur, “In the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened…” (Genesis 3:5 NASB). But in the beginning, our eyes were already open. Our sight was perfect. Our vision let us see a world spilling with goodness. Our eyes fell on nothing but the glory of God. We saw God as He truly is: good. But we were lured by the deception that there was more to a full life, there was more to see. And, true, there was more to see: the ugliness we hadn’t beheld, the sinfulness we hadn’t witnessed, the loss we hadn’t known.

We eat. And, in an instant, we are blind. No longer do we see God as one we can trust. No longer do we perceive Him as wholly good. No longer do we observe all of the remaining paradise.

We eat. And, in an instant, we see. Everywhere we look, we see a world of lack, a universe of loss, a cosmos of scarcity, and injustice.

We are hungry. We eat. We are filled…and emptied.

One Thousand GiftsAnd still, we look at the fruit and see only the material means to fill our emptiness. We don’t see the material world for what it is meant to be: as the means to communion with God.

We look and swell with the ache of a broken, battered planet, what we ascribe as the negligent work of an indifferent Creator (if we even think there is one). Do we ever think of this busted-up place as the result of us ingrates, unsatisfied, we who punctured it all with a bite? The fruit’s poison has infected the whole of humanity. Me. I say no to what he’s given. I thirst for some roborant, some elixir, to relieve the anguish of what I’ve believed: God isn’t good. God doesn’t love me.

If I’m ruthlessly honest, I may have said yes to God, yes to Christianity, but really, I have lived the no. I have. Infected by that Eden mouthful, the retina of my soul develops macular holes of blackness.

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