Do everything without grumbling or arguing. Philippians 2:14. (EHV).
Here’s a tough one for me. I like to debate and I like to argue. I don’t like to be quarrelsome, and I don’t like not getting along with people. But I like to talk in-depth about things like faith and politics and topics that are generally off-limits, especially if it’s with people with whom I disagree. I’m a big believer in people talking it out and agreeing to disagree when, well, we don’t agree. In fact, I respect people who stand up for what they believe in especially if it’s something with which I disagree. Mind you, I’m not defending people who believe in the indefensible (things like murder, avarice, violence, etc). I simply respect people who stand up for what they believe even if it’s something I don’t believe in.
Some people will lend you money, then grumble about doing it. Some folks will offer to help you move your furniture, then complain about having to do it. Some good people will itch for a fight even when they know that no good can come out of it. Got skin? Got sin. My arguing, the money-grubber’s grumbling, the Indian-giver who says they’ll do one thing and then take it back later: all sins. All contrary to what Paul advises us to do in one way or another.
Instead, Paul reminds us to do EVERYTHING without those petty sins like arguing, grumbling or the like. Not just work, not just Thanksgiving dinner with crazy Uncle Bernie (or Joe), not just getting along with your argumentative Facebook friend: EVERYTHING. Making dinner, cleaning the house, walking the dog, talking on the telephone, talking online, writing blogs, chatting in the narthex on Sunday morning: EVERYTHING. Do it all without arguing or complaining.
Yep: that’s a tough one. Here’s an idea: let’s be tougher. Let’s take up Christ’s light yoke and burden and do everything we do with His attitude. Serving and serving thankfully; going the extra mile; forgiving when others fail us; giving up on revenge and gossip and getting even: let’s work to infuse our words and actions today with the fruits of Galatians 5 and the words of Christ’s Gospels.
For me, that starts with watching what I say, online and in person. I have a friend (with whom I almost always politically disagree) who seems to have an insatiable need to be right or have the last word. Today I’ll let him. Instead of being Eeyore the pessimist (someone my wife accuses me of being) I’ll keep quiet. Rather than focusing on the negatives, I’ll say prayers of thanks for them and good things around them. It’s about giving praise instead of criticism and thanks instead of something else.
For further reading: 1 Corinthians 10:10, Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Peter 4:9, Philippians 2:15
Lord Jesus, thank You for yet another opportunity to retrain my brain to better serve You. Strengthen me to not grumble or complain or argue.