Complaining Is A Choice

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

A dangerous trend I see in society today is the quick response to complain about things.  We have more at our disposal today to make life as easy and fulfilling as any time in history – yet our response is to complain.

One example is airline travel.  The Associated Press reported that travel complaints about air lines jumped 34% in 2015.  It is the highest level since the year 2000.  This comes despite the fact that data shows more flights arrived on time and fewer bags were lost, according to an annual airline quality report.  More on-time flights and fewer bags lost – yet 34% more complaining!  We have a choice in every situation in life – we can respond with a grateful heart for what we have, or we can complain about what we don’t have.

I remember a cute story about a man who entered a monastery of silence.  He was told he could only speak two words every ten years.

When he had finished his first ten years, he was brought before an inquiry committee, and they said, “You have two words, what are they?”  He simply said, “Hard beds.”  He went back to the monastery.  Ten years later, he came before the inquiry committee, and they told him to speak his two words.  He said, “Bad food.”   He went back to the monastery.  At the end of the next ten years, he came before the inquiry committee.  When they gave him the privilege of saying his two words, he said, “I quit.”  The committee immediately responded, “We think that is a good thing.  All you’ve done since you’ve been here is complain, complain, complain!!!”

Sam Matthews shared a story about an elderly woman who had always wanted to take an airplane trip but never had the opportunity.  She constantly expressed her desire, so her family presented her with an airline ticket on her birthday.  She would fly to a city where some friends lived for a short visit.  It was a dream come true!

On the day of the flight, she boarded the plane with great excitement and anticipation.  After she had arranged her bags and packages and settled in, she realized the upholstery on her seat was stained.  Complaining, she picked up everything and moved to another seat.  Again she arranged her packages and bags, but she discovered she was sitting in front of a crying child, so she complained and changed seats again.  Just as she got settled in for the third time, she discovered that the sun made her new window seat too hot.  As she got up to shift seats again, the flight attendant announced that the passengers should fasten their seat belts to prepare for landing.  This elderly lady who had dreamed of flying on an airplane, sat in disbelief and remarked, “If I had known that the trip was so short, I wouldn’t have spent so much time complaining.”

The trip of life is short.  Don’t spend time complaining.  Benjamin Franklin said, “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.”  Someone quipped, “When complaining that things ain’t what they used to be, don’t forget to begin with yourself.”

We choose to complain or compliment.  It takes little aptitude to complain – it takes a healthy attitude to compliment – but the consequences are amazing! (Tweet this)

Paul writes, “Do everything without complaining and arguing” (Phil. 2:14).  Jude writes, “The people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their own desires” (Jude 1:16).  In the Bible there is a connection between the fact that when the people complained, the Lord was displeased, as in Numbers 11:1 and 17:5, Deut. 1:34, John 6:43, and many others.

Life situations can become stumbling blocks or stepping stones.  William Ward said, “You can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them.”   What’s your choice?

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