It is a pleasant feeling to make a gift to someone who is in need. It is the superior position, generally one doesn’t make oneself too short, and it is depositing a credit for the Last Judgement.

It is harder to receive the gift from condescending hands. St Vincent de Paul told his charitable followers:

“When you give to the poor, give as humbly as you can manage. And then – perhaps – they will forgive you.”

The second stage of ingratitude is Shaw’s remark: “I can’t think why he dislikes me so. It’s not as if I had ever done anything for him.”

The third stage of ingratitude is a couplet by the 13th century Persian poet Saadi of Shiraz:

“I never taught archery to anyone,
who did not end up shooting at me.”

The point of noting these stages is not to analyse others, but to find which step one habitually stands on oneself.

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