“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16)
That’s a tall order. No grumbling? Oh boy, I definitely can’t be held up as a shining example of that. Yes, I do a fair amount of grumbling… “I wish we could make the kitchen bigger.” “I wish I didn’t have to go to work today.” “That darn cat kept me up again last night.” “Why can’t high school kids manage to throw away their lunch garbage instead of leaving it on the table?” “These drivers are too crazy and dangerous.” Those are just a few of the grumblings that might run through my mind on any given day.
Blameless and innocent? Yikes. Much as I like to believe that I’m never at fault for bad situations, the fact is I mess up. A lot. I act too hastily and speak too harshly and don’t love others the way I should. I get greedy and lazy and angry. I ignore God’s promptings on my heart.
I’m hardly shining God’s light when I whine about my circumstances. Some things just can’t be changed, at least not by me. I get frustrated at work when people are complaining, partly because that kind of negativity seeps into my attitude as well. Usually it all seems pretty fruitless.
I suppose at times, it’s necessary to vent and discuss the problems in order to figure out solutions. What I have no patience for is people who do nothing but complain, and refuse to admit that they’re at least partially responsible for the situation. I tend to think it’s just better to do my part without dwelling on the disappointments and frustrations. I know I’m more productive when I quit worrying about things over which I have no control, simply focusing on what I can do better. Maybe that’s one small way that I can shine a light in the world…