There’s a story about a monk who lived in a monastery. He had taken a vow of silence and was not allowed to speak at all, except once every ten years, he was allowed to speak just two words. When his first ten years at the monastery were completed, the abbot said, “It’s been ten years of silence. What two words would you like to speak?”  “Bed…hard…” replied the monk. “I see,” replied the abbot.

Ten years later, the abbot again said, “It has been ten more years. “What are the two words you would like to speak?” “Food… stinks…” said the monk. “I see,” replied the head monk.

Ten more years passed and the abbot asked the monk, “What are your two words now, after these ten years?” “I… quit!” said the monk.  “Well, I can see why,” replied the abbot. “All you ever do is complain.”


We all find reasons to complain, don’t we? I complain a lot more than once every ten years. Probably you do too. We complain about the weather when it’s cold and also when it’s hot, when it’s raining and when it’s dry. We complain and grumble when someone doesn’t do something exactly the way we like it even when they were well intended. We complain about being bored and also complain when life is too busy. We find reason to complain about all kinds of troubles, forgetting what our troubles look like in comparison to the still heavier burdens others bear. We complain about most everything that ultimately tests and strengthens our faith.


It doesn’t serve us well. In fact it always works against us and is a detriment to our Christian testimony. But still we give in to complaining. We don’t want our reputation to be that of a complainer but what are we to do? The key to shutting down a bad habit like complaining is choosing something that is incompatible with it. What if you pinched yourself every time you found yourself complaining and instead focused on one of these behaviors:

Accepting – Stop fighting what you can’t change and find peace in the storm.

Commending – Find reasons to appreciate someone – or your situation.

Agreeing – It’s hard to complain when you find some piece of common ground.

Helping – The cure to many disappointments is found in helping others.

Rejoicing – We can complain about what we’ve lost or rejoice in what remains.

Applauding – Discover the the joy of catching someone (and yourself!) doing something well!

Surrendering – Give up to God what you’re not handling well.


Give yourself the gift of happiness.  Commit to reducing your complaining.


“Be hospitable to one another without complaint.” 1 Peter 4:9


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