Thanksgiving: Cultivating a Heart of Gratitude

It’s hard to be grateful for something you think is owed. It has been a challenging week for me on several levels—-mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. But, I am thankful. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have much to be thankful for and I choose to focus on those things rather than my troubles.

Before you read on—a heads up: this post contains graphic language and describes an incident that may be difficult for you to comprehend and understand.

Yesterday, at my work, we had a banquet to feed the homeless. Volunteers helped our team serve more than 500 people. I had a great time showing movies in our worship center. I saw a number of friends I’ve made over the course of the past two years.

During the first movie, one of our guests was talking. He increasingly became a distraction. Other guests looked my way, begging me to get him to hush.

Stepping out from behind the booth, I walked toward him and asked that he stop talking. He looked at me and said, “What? I can’t talk? You can’t make me be quiet. I have freedom of speech.”

I responded, “Yes, you do. I’m asking that you’d exercise that right out in the cafe. Folks are trying to watch a movie in here.”

“Well, watch the fucking movie! I can talk if I want to. I’m just visiting with my friend over here.” He pointed to a man several feet away.

I moved closer to him so I wouldn’t have to yell or speak loudly. “That’s fine. I’m just asking that you have that conversation out in our cafe.”

He made direct eye contact with me. His eyes locked on mine. “You don’t have the love of God in you. You’re filled with evil. You have the devil in you.”

He stood up.

“I got freedom of speech. I’ll talk if I fucking want to.” He repeated, “You don’t have no God in your heart. You’re evil. You’re the goddamn devil. I’ll cut your motherfucking throat.”

At this point, thankfully, one of our security team members had made it over to us and intervened.

This sole incident sticks out in my mind from yesterday for a number of reasons that I won’t get into today. It’s part of what we deal with daily. We fight, individually, to overcome these moments so that, collectively, we can continue to help people.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:7-8 New Living Translation

FACT: Hurt people hurt people.

Today, in celebration of Thanksgiving, I am re-sharing a post from a couple of years ago.

Enjoy the time with your family, friends, and loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rainer Bantau
The Devotional Guy™



  1. As a teacher, I have occasional conversations, like the one you mentioned, but it sounds like you experience this pretty often. Why do some folks not take responsibility for their own actions? Deflecting blame is the name of the game.
    🙏 Heavenly Father, please help Rainer as he recovers from the vile words spoken to him yesterday. As you know, he serves on the front lines helping folks who are sometimes hard to love. Guide and guard Rainer’s life, and please send some grateful folks his way. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

    Happy Thanksgiving, bro!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We’ll done Rainer.

    You’re a good man.

    Amen to David’s prayer!!

    Andy B

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you, David. I couldn’t imagine teaching in a classroom these days—based on a few news stories I’ve seen.

    We have a running joke at our place—getting cussed out is really a part of the morning liturgy. Let’s you know you’re loved and seen. Reminds you that you’re doing something worthwhile. Having an impact.

    But then there are instances like the one I describe that take things to a different level. I was reminded of God’s grace in my life and how much God has transformed me because there was a time in my life that this would have gone an entirely different way.

    Thank you for your prayer, my friend. I truly appreciate it.

    God bless. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All glory be to God, Andy. Thank you for echoing David’s prayer. There is so much more woven within the layers of this incident. I think that’s where the difficulty comes in. It brings things past to the present. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s rarely as simple as it first appears to be…

    People are complex!!

    Andy B

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank God, “Froggy” is no more. The old Rainer might have physically hurt that guy.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.