What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

15 May 2011

There's a Complaint for That

"Do all things without grumbling or disputing, so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world." - Philippians 2:14-15

I gotta tell you, this verse is a bit rich coming from me. Yes, I blog today as a shining example of what not to do in the area of complaining. I have days when I am aware of what comes out of my mouth and I manage to stop talking before complaints erupt, but I have a lot more days when the grumbling pours out. Not my best quality, I'm afraid.

Yesterday, Chad and I worked the polls for a city election. Now, I'm sure everyone in the US has heard from an early age the rather unfortunate adage, "If you don't vote, then you have no right to complain." And the reason I'm sure everyone has heard it is that I heard it over and over again from voters yesterday. I even read it in a news article this morning. Sigh...

Ah, the old days of voting.
I'm going to take an unpopular stance here and suggest that if preserving your right to complain is your motivation for voting, you probably should stay home. Honestly, we'd all be happier if more people gave up their right to complain (including me, remember?). And then there's that minor detail that we have no "right" to complain to begin with-- it's not in the Constitution, and as you already read, it's certainly not God-given. Now, if your reason for voting is that you want to use the rights that you have and add your voice to the decision-making process, and then if your elected officials don't deliver on what they said when they were looking for your vote and you want to call them on it, by all means, go ahead. But please, please don't approach the ballot box (bit of a quaint word, that, isn't it?) bent on seeing to it that you preserve your right to complain until the next election comes round. That's hardly productive.

Unfortunately, I fear that this is an area in which many Christians are as bad offenders as anyone else. It's so easy, and in our culture, it's the path of least resistance, to start grumbling when things aren't 100% perfect (which, by the way, is all the time). But I'm sure there's a better way. I'm sure we I can try harder to restrain the complaining. And I'm sure that complaining could be replaced by encouragement.

What do you do to avoid too much complaining?


Laura said...

I try so hard to not complain. I don't know if I've always done it and am noticing it more as I've gotten older or if I complain more as I've gotten older. ;-) Either way, I'd love to find a way to stop myself before I start...

Anonymous said...

Complaining is our national pass time here in Canada..of course, WE usually complain about the weather not the politicians.
My folks always said, "If you are not going to vote, don't let me hear you criticizing what's being done".
I think maybe criticizing is worse than complaining.

Jenny said...

I live with a world champion complainer, and that has driven me to be much more aware of what comes out of my own mouth. For every negative thing that is said when she is at home, I offer praise to God in the form of ministering back to her with a positive thing or encouragement. It's HARD. I think spending more time in the Word would help anyone complain less about what isn't right in their lives and focus instead on what is important.

I'm a world class hypocrite on some days. I complain a lot of the time about things I can't change. So I'm not saying I'm all perfect. Far from it. Thanks for writing about this problem! I love your posts.

Maybe if I print that verse and put it where we all can see it everyday... :)

Kari Marie said...

I needed to hear this today. I try not to complain, but I know I could do better.

Su said...

@Laura: Me, too. You'd think technology would be more advanced in that direction!

@mybabyjohn: Oh, we complain about the weather, too. ;) Criticizing or complaining: still a sorry reason to vote! (If that's someone's only reason, that is!)

@Jenny: It is a lot harder when you're surrounded by people who complain. And thanks very much!

@Kari: Alas, so could we all. :/

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

such a great point - preserving a right to complain. I really enjoyed reading this.

Su said...

Thanks! It was one of those I had to write down or it would continue wearing on me. :)