Recently our local newspaper, the Pensacola News Journal featured an article about a local pastor handing out little “complaint free world” bracelets. He challenged his flock while wearing these bracelets to not complain for 21 days. What a great idea!
But it is not an original one. The apostle Paul long ago took this idea one step further.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blamless and pure, children of God, without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life. (Philippians 2:14-16)
Isn’t it interesting how Paul equates purity with not complaining and arguing with a depraved society; and how by being people who do not engage in either, our impact will be like shining stars? Wow. Do you realize there is so much power in just being content and agreeable?
My guess is no, you didn’t- and that you are not alone. There is simply way too much complaining in our world, in our homes, in our cars and in our church foyers. I’ll confess. I am guilty. I will be first in line for the bracelet.
At their roots, complaining and arguing are selfish endeavors. It is all about me- what I like or dislike. I really do not consider others while I am complaining. I am not thinking of the Golden Rule. And unfortunately, I am not setting the example God has called me to set. I am not shinning like stars and, therefore, I am not providing any witness of heaven to those around me who have to hear and absorb my complaints and criticisms.
Reread Paul’s words. They are divinely authorized. They are not suggestions for consideration. God simply wants us to be different to make a difference. Complaining, bickering, backbiting, arguing, discontentment, strife, disagreeableness, etc. belong to the world, not to the church of Jesus Christ.
Sure, there will always be things that need improving, things that will not be perfect, worship services that will go overtime, cars that will pull right out in front of us, and numerous other things that will not go our way; but God has spoken, and complaining is just not the way to handle them.
Paul not only wrote the words of Philippians 2:14-16, but he lived them in that very city. In jail for doing absolutely nothing criminal, he chose to honor God and sing praises to him instead of complain about a miscarriage of justice (See Acts 16). That incredible testimony shone like a star and lives were changed forever.
So, how about joining in on the “complaint free world” and demonstrate the power and grace of God over the things that bug you?
You may never know the difference you will make!