When our children were younger – much younger – they were pickier about their food than they are now. They would look at what was set before them and say “Yuck!” or “I don’t like that!” or any number of disapproving remarks.
The cooks in the house – mom or dad – did not appreciate this whining much, so they made a rule. Anyone who said “Yuck!” was given an extra spoonful of whatever it was they were criticizing. We allowed the kids to say, “That’s not my favorite,” and receive a smaller portion, but they could not say anything more negative.
Over the next few days, as we followed through and dished out additional helpings of peas and potato pancakes and pork rinds, the grumbling diminished. As that happened, the cooks became happier people and were more likely to avoid foods that caused concern. We have not served up potato pancakes or pork rinds in years. (Okay. I’ll admit it. We never served pork rinds. Yuck!)
One word of caution for those with small children who are thinking, “What a great idea! I’m going to implement it today!” The one-more-spoonful rule can have unintended consequences. Soon after implementing this policy our kids started saying “Yuck!” to cake and ice cream and demanding their just deserts.
Unfortunately my children aren’t the only complainers in the house. I complain a lot. I grumble about taxes. I whine about the weather – too hot, too cold, too wet. I criticize calls made by referees – sometimes with great vigor. I find fault with politicians – mostly crazy liberals. I’m a nitpicker – a sinner.
Yes, you heard me right. I said – referring to my propensity to gripe – “I’m a sinner.” The Bible commands – it’s found in Philippians 2:14 – “Do everything without complaining or arguing…” (NIV) Doesn’t that mean that complaining about anything is sin? If it does, I’m guilty before God. You are too. Aren’t you?
We are all complainers. We whine when we have so much for which we could be thankful. Crazy! God is justified when he judges us for our ingratitude. That’s really what complaining is. It’s ungratefulness given a voice. Such thanklessness has no place on the lips of God’s people. It’s not any more unforgiveable than other sins, but it’s certainly as wrong as lying or stealing or killing.
So stop whining and rejoice! Give thanks to God rather than grouse. Our God is good.
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