The Pain with the Complain

screamer Complaints are one of the only things that bother me on a daily, almost hourly basis. Maybe it’s my lack of maturity on how to handle other people’s complaints, but they literally sit on my chest and weigh me down. Yesterday and today, I scrolled down my Facebook and Twitter walls, and discovered that literally 50-60% of everyone’s updates were complaints. 

  • It’s cold out
  • It snowed
  • I didn’t get Starbucks today
  • My husband doesn’t pay attention to me
  • My kids are driving me nuts

I totally get that people use social media just to be social, and these sorts of statements don’t reflect one’s theological beliefs about God and that he doesn’t provide everything we need and want– but truly, that is how it sounds when the same people complain day after day after day.

Am I being preachy? I guess so. But, play a little game with me the next time you hear someone complaining, (because I know YOU never would) 🙂

Ask that person to:

  • Walk to their refrigerator or pantry and check if there is food to eat there
  • Turn on their faucet to see if water comes out
  • Check their closet for boots, coats, hats, sweaters, and mittens
  • Walk to a light switch and turn it on and off.
  • Next, have them walk to the heat duct and feel the warm air blowing on their face.

If they don’t get the point yet, ask them if:

  • They can read
  • They have a computer
  • They went to school past 8th grade.

So if you really don’t have any friends that complain, maybe scroll through your last 10 Facebook or Twitter updates and calculate your complaint percentage.  I’m going to do it too.

The bar is pretty high in the Bible. Here’s what God says about it:

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”Philippians 2:14-15

and

“Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS. I will say it again, REJOICE!” Philippians 4:4

20 thoughts on “The Pain with the Complain

  • February 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm
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    So Michelle are saying you never complain? Just wondering…

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    • February 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm
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      Yep…that’s why I said I better go check over my own updates too. 🙂

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  • February 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm
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    Good post! I went through my updates and was surprised they were more positive than I expected. Phew! But I still need to take Philippians 2:14-15 to heart. Thanks for the reminder!

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  • February 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm
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    You are so right. I try to think about what I post, so the posts aren’t all complaints. It is nice to have a reminder thought. Thank you

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  • February 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm
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    Love it. People get defensive when called out on stuff. Great reminder and I try and be careful not to use facebook and twitter as a way to complain.

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  • February 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm
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    We are doing a lot less complaining lately and being a lot more thankful for what we do have! But there is always room for improvement. Thanks for the encouragement…

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  • February 25, 2011 at 2:41 pm
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    Okay, so I don’t update my status as often as most people, but here are my last four updates… I agree with you about the complaining. I always say to think of Facebook as an auditorium instead of as “dear diary”. Keeps us on our toes.

    Feb 16th
    “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll

    Feb 13th
    Love is a verb ! ♥

    Feb 9th
    If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.
    ~ Lucy Larcom

    Feb 6th
    “Amongst all unimportant subjects, football is by far the most important.” ~Pope John Paul II (Go Steelers !)

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  • February 25, 2011 at 3:09 pm
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    Wow, either I do overuse the ‘Hide’ button, or it’s Friday afternoon. Out of last several dozen FB posts, less than 3% were complaints?! I do love that Philippians verse!

    Seriously though, here’s my approach. If someone is always complaining, I hide/unfollow. I pretty much ignore those who are quarrelsome/complaining/argumentative as a way of life. If they occasionally complain, I sympathize and try to cheer up. If they complain a fair amount, I stop reading the comment as soon as I see it’s a complaint and say a quick prayer for the Spirit to be at work in their heart. Several times a day, I come to Facebook primarily as a prayer list, praying for whatever is *behind* whatever people are posting.

    I imagine there are two solid reasons why you hate complaining so much. First, the time you spent in developing countries. When we got back from a year in India we wanted to explode about the trivial nonsense Americans complain about; people got tired of our lectures on ‘you don’t know how good you have it!’ Second, you’re a passionate energetic person who wants to focus on the positive and do good. As such God has wired you to encourage and move forward. Do yourself a favor, and give yourself permission to ignore negative people. Third reason (although I said two) – God is using complainers to develop your character by using them to press buttons in your weak spot. (Not being mean!! We all have such spots!) So try not to let them get to you, but think about responding more with prayer, combined with reflection about how God is trying to mold you by surrounding you with whiners! 🙂

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    • February 25, 2011 at 3:28 pm
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      Yep, it gets to me because of the reasons you stated. Quite honestly, if there is a person that repeatedly complains, I do feel sorry for them because I know they must be so lonely. I really do pray for those peeps, but will make a more intentional effort to do so. Thanks for your wise words Larry.

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  • February 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm
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    Great reality check! Everyone needs to hear it even if it ruffles some feathers. I’m guilty of whining from time to time online- usually about work. Thanks for sharing!

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    • February 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm
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      Me too Lisa…usually just not online. My poor family… 🙂

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  • February 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm
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    Thanks for keeping me accountable on what I post. I hate to say but it seems that I have been posting way too many complaints. I am most certainly going to rethink what I post and my thoughts.

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    • February 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm
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      Ruth, you are one of the least complaining people I know. For real!

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  • February 25, 2011 at 5:27 pm
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    Thanks for the reminder, Michelle. I will admit that many of my posts lately have been whiney. 🙂 I will continue to work toward positivity (with an occasional butt kicking along the way. LOL!).

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  • February 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm
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    Meh, I think weather talk is part of people’s way of keeping the conversation neutral.

    Maybe Facebook is the place we can use to pray for people who are hurting. I mean there’s nothing saying we can’t pray for wisdom for that person.

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  • February 26, 2011 at 1:02 pm
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    some of the comments on this are complaining about complaining 🙂 i wish people would see the bigger picture, life is a gift from God and he has given you all you need to live and possibly more. There is no reason to be negative. and i admit myself complain sometimes but i try to live positively.

    Reply

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