Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, (Philippians 2:14–15, ESV)
No one likes a whiner. I recently saw an old SNL clip in which the Whiner family boarded an airplane. Just four minutes of their obnoxious voices and their nitpicky complaints and every other passenger was ready to board another flight.
Few of us would equate ourselves with the Whiner family and few of us would come close their annoying, nasally grievances. But can we honestly say such an attitude is absent from our lives?
The word “grumbler” literally means “behind-the-scenes-talk.” This is the complainer, someone who mutters under their breath. There’s always something wrong with this guy’s situation and he is certain to make it known. The word “disputing” refers to an argumentative and quarrelsome person. This person is not only dissatisfied with his lot, but needs to convince others that he’s right for feeling that way!
These traits, while annoying, may seem harmless. But the Bible says that they can have damaging results in the world around us. Verses 14-15 tell us that by living our lives without these traits, we can retain a purity of lifestyle which will shine out into the “crooked and twisted” world around us. How can a good attitude have such a far-reaching result? The converse of complaining is being content. When my heart reflects a gratitude for what God has done for me (even if my situation is not ideal), other will begin to notice. Whether I’m at home, at work, at church or somewhere in between, attitude will say to those around me that I am satisfied and grateful for the many ways in which God has blessed me.
So are you content or do you find yourself airing out perceived injustices with regularity? Do you rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16) or always mutter complaints? Are you thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:17) or frequently feel slighted? The right attitude goes a long way.