It can be but my gratitude I earn.
We give thanks to God so God won’t punish us for we feel guilty. We don’t realize that God never punishes us to begin with. It is we who, from our guilt, project our expectation of punishment onto God and it is something God knows nothing of.
And so because we are not genuinely grateful but only act so to manipulate we can’t express genuine gratitude to others either. The “gratitude” we pretend to give is counterfeit. It is only when we realize that God unconditionally loves us and hopes that we will extend this unconditional love to others that guilt evaporates and we realize that God has endowed us with the function of gratitude and in this realization and exercise of gratitude we have earned it for ourselves as we share it with others. If the recipient of our gratitude, rebuffs it, criticizes it, scoffs at it, it is still ours and we have earned it no matter the response.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, it is suggested in step twelve, that we carry our gratitude for our recovery to others. It is in this sharing that our own recovery is amplified and our gratitude affirmed.
In Unitarian Universalism, we covenant together to affirm and promote the acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth which is experienced as tremendous gratitude for the sharing and validation of the Oneness of humanity.
Today, it is suggested that throughout the day we remind ourselves that when we are thankful it is in this gratitude that I am encompassed and empowered. True gratitude recognizes and acknowledges the radical dependence we have on other people, and all things of creation whether it is recognized and acknowledged or not.