April 2, 2007

Complaining....Again!

Whoso is wise [if there be any truly wise] will observe and heed these things; and they will diligently consider the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord. Psalm 107:43

Ok, I admit it. I have a problem with complaining. I don't really even know that I am doing it until out pops some whine or whince and I complain. My nature is melancholy and I tend to see things as either black or white, wrong or right. I have a critical eye for detail and find that I am a pretty good judge of character. So while these traits may be good and even welcome under the best circumstances, they often turn out to give me motivation to complain.

The dictionary defines the verb 'to complain' as follows:

to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault

Using this definition as a guide I realize that about 50% of the time I complain to express my dissatisfaction or due to pain (oh, how my shoulders do hurt right now!) I probably find fault more than I do find resentment, but even still, I think I am guilty of doing this far too often.

I have found that when I take my complaints to the Lord, He graciously listens to me. However, I have been reading through the Old Testament and I realized that there is a fine line between complaining and grumbling. The Lord was not happy when the Israelites grumbled and He let everyone know about it. I decided I needed to know what the verb "to grumble" means. Well, here you go:

to murmur or mutter in discontent; complain sullenly

Oh my...so it is one thing to complain and it is quite another thing to grumble. The way I see it is that the missing ingridient between the two is ATTITUDE. Grumbling adds that extra special does of attitude, a sullenness, to the matter. My mental picture is of the teen that stalks out of the room muttering under his or her breath, "it's not fair." It is like saying "ok, you may be right, but I don't like it and I am going to sulk about it."

I have decided to keep my attitude in check, and if I do complain, I need to make sure that I am simply stating the facts -- my back hurts, the service was unacceptable, the company has poor managers, etc. I have got to keep my attitude out of the complaint because it is just a short walk from expressing dissastifaction to sullenly muttering (grumble, grumble, grumble)!

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