06 Jun Grumble Grumble
“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 (NIV)
Boy, do we like to whine! Everyone is a critic and you don’t have to look far to find one. Look at social media or sites like Rotten Tomatoes. I remember the days when a movie or video game came out, we got what we got and it was good. We had Siskel & Ebert to tell us how a movie was. Now, it seems everyone has something to say about politics, entertainment, our coworker’s promotion and the neighbor’s fence that hasn’t been painted in years.
Whether something is bad or good, someone will always find something to nitpick. Someone will even have something bad to say about a donation to a good cause and how the money could have been donated to a better cause. Even this mild rant seems like I am complaining, but I assure you that I am including myself in this group of grumblers. We all do it. We tend to grumble when we aren’t getting things done our way, or because we think something should be done differently.
I found that I can be quite opinionated, especially about creative things. Opinions can be great and we all have them, but I am learning that when my opinions turn to grumbling, this begins to create a toxic environment in my heart and mind. I start to assume things. It almost feels like I am gossiping with myself. Without knowing the story about what I am grumbling about, my internal opinions and complaints turn into assumptions. I now see how this is very damaging to my relationship with people, my church and myself.
We read in the Bible that God is not happy with complaining. We find this in Numbers 11, when the Israelites were hungry and God provides manna for them. And although they had to eat, they still complained because they didn’t have meat. Despite God pulling them out of captivity and slavery, they still had the audacity to reminisce on how they had fish and meat back in Egypt. How many of us tend to say “back in the day, we used to…” or “back at my old church, we did it this way.” We say these things not necessarily to contribute to the team, but to bicker and say how our way is better. I fall into this trap more often than I should. This distraction can be the very thing that holds us from blessings.
I really enjoy my title for today’s entry. “Grumble grumble.” Forgive me for a second as I nerd out and introduce my love of Nintendo stuff. The title is a reference to the game Legend of Zelda for the NES, and if you ever played this classic, you will eventually encounter the “Hungry Goriya”. This character will block your path during your quest; and when you talk to him, all he says is, “grumble grumble”. He has nothing valuable to say. All he does is block your way. Just like the “Hungry Goriya”, our grumbling blocks us in our journey for greater things. Grumbling will hinder us from greater connections, opportunities and other blessings that God has for us.
In my journey, I have decided that I will be more self-aware in my grumbling. Do you also have this issue? I don’t think anyone is exempt from this issue. Therefore, I leave you once again with the opening verse: “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.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV).