The Eighth Deadly Sin

May 1st, 2007
by Alfonso Ebanks

[private] v5-5-Our IslandsI have read all the commandments and I know all about the golden rule, yet every time I have time to cogitate on the real values that most of us try to live up to, I cannot help but wonder why the most important of all human qualities goes unmentioned. From a very young age we are taught the basic rules we must learn that will enable us to lead an uncomplicated and interactive life in a civilized society.

Among the most important of these rules you will find justice, respect, honesty, sincerity, integrity, fidelity and a few others of equal importance. There is however, a human value that outshines all the other and it is rarely mentioned. That value is gratitude. The expression of gratefulness has become a thing of the past and people no longer think it necessary to thank their benefactors.

I have long since given up my habit of holding a door open for a lady, because most women pass through without as much a grunt to acknowledge my gentlemanlike conduct. Before I stopped the practice completely I would turn and thank the women for giving me the privilege of holding the door for them and to my surprise only a few of them would be embarrassed by this gesture.

Ingratitude is a universal malady. Don’t go on believing that it only comes from strangers because if we took notice we will find that it is most prevalent among members of our own families. I remember an incident that occurred just after the hurricane Mitch, an incident that I consider the epitome of thanklessness. There were four blond headed strangers building a small house on a parcel of land in one of the destroyed neighborhoods of the capital city. A few locals stood around gawking and making comments as to speed and quality of the work. Among the small gathering of people the owner of the house sat chatting away paying little attention to the progress of the structure.

A reporter showed up and after interviewing the construction crew searched out the owner and asked him why he wasn’t helping in the building of his own house. The answer he gave surprised everybody, he said: Those gringos owe us a lot! This answer showed this person to be the most ungrateful bastard ever. Not only did those blond persons bring food for him and his family and material to replace his dilapidated abode with a brand new house, but they themselves were doing the work of constructing it and that guy had somehow figured that someone owed him all that.

The reporter told the man that he was sorry to have to inform him that the gentlemen that were working so hard to finish building him a house were Canadian. Some of the crowd booed the owner and he repaired to the back of the construction site to hide his embarrassment. He was guilty of committing the eighth deadly sin, ingratitude, and what he should have done was to hang himself by the neck from one of the new rafters that the strangers had placed in his new house.

We should express gratitude on a daily basis even for the smallest consideration and we should do it with words and deeds. We don’t have to look very far to find reasons to feel thankful, just look around you. You should thank your father for his many sacrifices, thank your mother for her patience, thank your wife for her attentiveness, thank your husband for his great efforts, thank your son for cleaning the yard, thank your daughter for her help with the dishes, thank your sister for being your sister, thank you brother for being almost nice to your friends and thank God for all of them. Remember, gratitude is a virtue but ingratitude is a sin. Be virtuous. [/private]

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