How many complaints do you think are sent out into the universe on any given day? Have you ever thought about the ramifications of those complaints? What is the toll on the people who hear complaints? What is the toll on the complainers? It’s an interesting thought to sum up the amount of energy is takes to process a complaint.
I’m sure that there are valid reasons for complaining now and again, but I’m also sure that in my own life there has been VERY few times that complaining has been beneficial. So, if that’s true, the bulk of my complaints have been…well, NOT beneficial. That has lead me to think about just how much of my voice I would like to lend to words that are not a benefit to others or myself.
I’m as guilty as the next guy and I admit it’s a hard one to swallow. I find it easy to justify my pettiness by saying, “I’m just giving my opinion.” or “I just thought they should know what I think because maybe other people are thinking the same thing.” But if I look in the mirror deep enough, I have to admit that at least 9 out of 10 times the world would still spin smoothly if I just shut up. Did you know that the dictionary definition of the word complain includes: “to find fault”? When we complain about someone we are finding fault with them. If we were truly working toward the same goal, we wouldn’t do that. So, every time we compalin, we are saying, “I’m not working with that person towards the goal. They aren’t on my team.”
Being a pastor, I think about the toll that complaining takes on the church and therefore the mission of God. If complaints are mostly without benefit and have a goal of finding fault, then if we choose to complain about the Bride of Christ, what does God think about that? It must grieve God when we use our words to validate that we are not working with each other in the most important mission there will ever be.
So, here’s my challenge. Every time you want to complain – via your mouth, email, text, or whatever, say something encouraging instead. What would our world be like if most of the complaints were exchanged for words that uplifted, united, and validated? What would your marriage be like? How would your pastor lead if he only heard encouragement from his congregation? How would your kids behave if you lead them instead of complained about them? Pretty astounding thought.
Good luck. We’re all going to need it!