"Do everything without complaining or arguing." -Phil. 2:14
That has got to be one of the most challenging and difficult verses in the Bible for me. After all, when I've got problems, I'm just SURE that other people should know about them, because they'll certainly want to feel sorry for me, won't they? My problems are just as bad and probably worse than anyone else's around me, right?
There's the kicker that usually shuts my mouth from continuing the grumbling. For every terrible situation that'd I'd love to complain about...I can always think of someone who's dealing with a tougher struggle.
My complaints about our net income dropping into the depths of the poverty level last year sound lifeless when there are so many unemployed people around me with NO income. My griping about that old lady that despises my pastor/husband is insignificant, when I consider what an amazing husband I've been blessed with, no matter what she thinks of him. Perhaps she's never known the joys of having a loving and committed husband, and so she takes it out on others.
You get the idea. Sure, we've all got issues and problems that can get us down, overwhelm us and cause us to grumble. However, isn't everyone dealing with problems and struggles?
"But," you may say, "Their problems or your problems are nothing like mine - you can't understand how terribly difficult this is!"
No, I can't. Likewise, you can not understand my troubles. Who am I to assume that I've got it worse than you do...and vice versa?
C.S. Lewis put it rather bluntly: “Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others... but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God 'sending us' to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE hell unless it is nipped in the bud. ”
Thus, I will do my best to heed Mr. Lewis' advice and "nip it in the bud." I'll bite my tongue for the umpteenth time and remember that when Paul said "everything," he really did mean everything...and for a good reason.