Complaining and grumbling. We probably all fall into this trap at some point or another. Sometimes complaining and grumbling about things we can’t change becomes an habitual pastime. Complainer becomes our name. We complain and fuss over things that have little real importance yet irritate us in some small way. Constant complaining about things is like purposefully putting rocks in your shoe before a long hike. If complaining is a rock in your shoe I hope you’ll read the blog post below (reprinted from 7/29/2014) and take the 24 hour “no complaining” challenge.
I’m guessing that at some point in your life you have attended a whine party, maybe even threw one yourself. No, not ‘wine’ but ‘whine’. You know what it is like: someone complains about something and then someone else ups the ante with an even bigger complaint. And so the conversation slides quickly downhill, dragging everyone with it.
Complaining seems to be a national pastime. It’s easy to fall into the trap, isn’t it? When we get wrapped up in our own world of hurts and misfortunes all we see is ourselves. I comment about my arm always hurting. My wife reminds me to be thankful because some people don’t have arms. Adding sarcasm to my whining, I think to myself, “Yeah, well they probably don’t hurt then, do they?” See how easy it is? (sigh)
Paul warns us about grumbling and complaining in Philippians 2 where he encourages us to take our eyes off ourselves and seek the mindset of Jesus, the One:
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:6-8
And so, Paul continues, we should: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing…” (v 14). Why? So we can:
- Be blameless and pure, behaving as children of God.
- Stand out from a warped and crooked generation.
- Shine our light among others like the stars of the sky.
- Hold firmly to the truth of the Word.
- Live life with purpose and passion, not in vain, even if our life is one of continual sacrifice and faith, ‘poured out like a drink offering.’
How can we live pure lives by constant complaining? How can we behave like children of the king, privileged in so many ways and still be whiners? How can we live our life set apart from a crooked generation when we complain about things just as they do? Does grumbling make our light shine brighter? Does complaining help us to hold onto the truth? No, it works against us! Complaining begets more complaining and a dissatisfaction with our plot in this temporary and short life. It destroys a thankful heart.
My wife is absolutely right: the cure to complaining is being thankful and learning the secret of being content. (Philippians 4:11-12) We stop complaining when we start being thankful and practice contentment. You’ve heard the saying, “I complained I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” Let’s declare a ban on personal complaining for at least 24 hours, and then renew the pledge the next day, and the next. See how your life changes and how your light shines brighter, when we refrain from grumbling and complaining when things don’t go our way.