Greetings, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to
explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly
Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This
morning we ponder our lives as seek to understand the meaning of a grateful heart.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Grateful Heart
"And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, 'seest though this woman? I entered into
thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and
wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time
I came hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman
hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins which are many, are
forgiven; for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.' And he said
unto her, thy sins are forgiven." Luke, Chapter 7, Verses 44-48.
Brothers and sisters, the heart becomes grateful because the goodness of God causes it to repent.
What is the mechanism whereby goodness causes repentance?
Children when they are young and immature do not appreciate the care and especially the discipline
that is imposed upon them by their parents. It requires time for them to attain a certain measure of
maturity before they can really appreciate the value of care and discipline. Most of the time they take
the care for granted and oppose the discipline. We are all developing beings, and we come into the
world devoid of all knowledge, wisdom, and experience. We must acquire this knowledge, wisdom
and experience as we grow. But this growth process is being imposed upon a child that resists
unpleasant change. The child does not like to have the course that he is pursuing changed. The inertia
of self satisfaction is strong. The growing child must be saved from itself, if it is to become truly
matured, and able to function as a meaningful member of society.
The parents who rear children understand this as they have been children themselves. They
understand the necessity of inducing the child to acquire certain habits of behavior. The child--like
all human nature--resists the impetus to become more than it is. But this nature is trainable, and later
on can be spiritualized. By subjecting the child to the routines of life early, the child becomes trained
in modes of behavior that are so essential to function as a successful member of society. When the
child attains maturity the habits of youthful training will dominate his mode of behavior. "Train up
a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
At times it is necessary to discipline the child, to restrain him from courses of actions that if allowed
would prove most disastrous. The wise parent then acts upon the child's future by disciplining him
in the present. Discipline is tough on both the parent and the child. The parent is not immune to the
emotional effects of the child's desires to have its way, but realizes that is the way of the child's
destruction. So rising above the emotional restraints, the parents consorts with wisdom and
experience and does what is right and best for the child.
It is not enough for the child to just want to do the right thing with his life, but he must have the
discipline to carry out the program of his choosing. Nothing is sadder than to watch an adult
hopelessly lost within his own impulses which are blown about like leaves in the autumn wind,
unable to stick to a given course of action because he lacks self discipline. When this process
continues over time, the child emerges into adulthood well adjusted and prepared to take its place
there alongside other adults who are in the mainstream striving to master the problems of the
material life. The child becomes grateful for all the efforts of parenting that has shaped and molded
him so that he can function successfully in his now adult world with adult responsibilities.
Spiritually, a similar process occurs in human life. The soul comes into existence without any
experience, any knowledge or wisdom. It must grow by acquiring experience, knowledge and
wisdom. The soul must be cared for, nourished and disciplined. The discipline is supplied by the
soul's progressive living environment. Amid this difficult environment, the soul learns to trust and
have faith in the Father's goodness. The soul must mature, must come to recognize the goodness,
truth, and beauty of the Father's love. The first test of the soul is overcoming evil.
Overcoming evil is the ministry of goodness. It is the exposure of the soul to the goodness of the
Father that eventually influences and induces it to acknowledge that God is good. And in
acknowledging that God is good, it has possessed itself of this goodness, has in effect repented. The
spiritual influence of the Father's goodness is very effective, and only a heart set upon rebellion can
resist the goodness of God. Goodness is a spiritual quality that among other things consists of
patience, mercy, love and forgiveness. This constant bathing of the soul with goodness causes the
soul to recognize its moral obligation to the heavenly Father. A soul trained in goodness will
overcome evil with goodness. It will not yield to the temptation to disobey the factors of divine
goodness. Choosing divine goodness leads to growth of the soul.
Another problem for the growing soul is the recognition of true relationships. The recognition of
truth by the soul is a major milestone, for this recognition once and at the same time liberates the
soul and signifies the effect of the discipline of choosing truth or error. The ability of the soul to
choose truth over error is liberating because the soul can now experience true reality. The
experiencing of divine reality is the joy of joys. Such a soul who can now find its way amidst all the
choices of error is indeed grateful.
Finally the soul under the influences of divine goodness and truth begins to detect a new quality, a
quality that while it contains the divine goodness and the divine truth also evokes an aesthetic
reaction in the soul. This esthetic reaction is beauty. Beauty in the soul is the perception of unity, the
unity of truth, goodness and beauty, the perception of divine love, that all encompassing divine
affections that motivates the whole creation. Divine love is the greatest of all spiritual reality because
God is love, and the experience of divine love is the experience of God, the heavenly Father.
Such a soul is profoundly grateful and is inspired to bestow this divine affection upon his sisters and
brothers. Such a grateful heart is loving, filled with faith, full of divine goodness, gentle, temperate,
meekness, long suffering, joyful and peaceful. Such a grateful heart is satisfied, content, happy. His
purpose is identified; he embraces that purpose, and has the moral stamina (discipline), and spiritual
power to pursue it. Such a grateful heart is filled with thanksgiving and worship for the heavenly
Father. Such a grateful heart is indeed appreciative of his heavenly Father for the continuous care
and discipline without which none of this growth would be possible. Such a heart is indeed grateful
for the opportunity and privilege to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the grateful heart. We hope you
find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry