Some people project a cloud of negativity like Pigpen’s cloud of filth in the Charlie Brown cartoon.
I watched Winnie the Pooh as a kid. Whenever Winnie or any of the other characters met Eeyore, the sad-sack donkey, the donkey always complained. When anyone said “Good morning,” Eeyore responded, “If it is a good morning, which I doubt.” When he got a new tail, he said, “Sure is a cheerful color. Guess I’ll have to get used to it.”
When Jesus asked the paralytic if he wanted to be well, the man responded, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” You would think his answer would have been “YES, I want to be made well!” Instead, he made excuses for his condition, which he had suffered for thirty-eight years. His condition had become a part of his identity. He depended on it to beg alms, and I’m not sure he wanted Jesus to cure him.
We’ve all known people who are difficult to be around because they complain about their health, finances, job, family, or any number of other things. The human experience is difficult. We do suffer physical and emotional pain. Falling into self-pity and complaining is easy.
I recently read Corrie ten Boom’s classic book, The Hiding Place. The Nazis sent Corrie and her sister Betsie to a concentration camp in Ravensbruck, Germany. They lived in cramped bunks shared by up to five women. Fleas infested the barracks. The guards wouldn’t even come in. The sisters’ existence was miserable, but rather than complain, they thanked God for the fleas. The guards wouldn’t find their smuggled Bibles, and many other women heard the Bible because the women lived in such confined quarters. Tragically, Betsie died in that camp, but she died thankful.
We have a choice. We can grumble or give thanks in all circumstances. If we look for God’s grace, we will find it. The ten Boom sisters found it in a concentration camp and in the fleas that drove out the guards.
Complaining doesn’t change anything. Ask God for a grateful heart so He can use you.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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