Complaints: Meet the nuisance robbing you of joy and peace
I can't believe they messed up our order.......again!
These words are likely all too common to most of us. How many times have we lost our cool when the waitress or the clerk at the counter didn't get our order correct? Or, how many times have we gotten upset and complained to the airline attendant or with a taxi driver because we were being delayed in reaching our destination on time?
Maybe a better question is this...
What exactly did our complaining add to creating a solution or solving the problem? Our complaints probably didn't add anything. They usually don't in the manner I am speaking.
See, complaints do not usually add to - more times than not, they take away from. They take away from us 2 things that most of us cherish greatly - our joy and peace.
So, how do we avoid falling prey to this terrible nuisance called complaining?
I'd like to show you a couple of strategies to try the next time a complaint attempts to run wild off of your lips.
Peacemaker Tactics: "Combat Training for Complaining"
1) Pause and Breath.
Take a step back from the situation and collect yourself before your temper has it's way with you and those around you. A flaring temper can cause you to lose control of your emotions - even if only temporarily. Complaining can also impair your judgement and lead you into conflict, causing you to do and say things you may end up regretting later. (Raise your hand if you are guilty of this - I could raise both my hands on this one.)
2) Be the Detective.
Before commenting, fully examine the situation you are in from all angles. Take yourself out of the picture for a moment and consider all parties involved and others who are around you. Maybe the waitress mentioned earlier, just got divorced and is mentally struggling to keep herself together and that's why she placed your order incorrectly, or maybe the taxi driver is new and not yet aware of the fastest routes to travel, so that his customers can get to their destinations as quickly as possible.
In moments of past reflection I have envisioned myself getting cut off by another driver, or in a car accident and totally flipping out on the other person, only to realize that it's somebody from my church. That is a frightening thought and amounts to feeling quite terrible I must say! Imagine yourself in a similar situation. How would you feel? A change in perspective goes a long way!
There is actually a lot to say about perspective. A change in perspective can cause us to realign our thoughts and attitude pretty quickly - to make a right, better and correct choice.
Misunderstanding and assumptions can make for the mother of all bad judgement calls and a root in all of this can be found in complaining.
I'm surely not saying that I never complain. Just take a drive with me sometime...(sigh), not good - I need to work on it, I know. Help me Jesus!
Speaking of God's help...the Bible does have something to say about our habit of complaining. Let's review God's thoughts on the matter. Take a look at the Apostle Paul's words in Philippians 2:14-15 - NLT.
"Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people."
I think God's Word is quite clear. Complaining does nothing more than cause the light of Christ within us to appear awfully dim. The world can be dark enough at times without us adding to it with our complaints. Let's shine bright so that all can see, the goodness of our great God!