As I consider the children’s story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I hear a little girl complaining. Too hot, too cold, too big, too little, too hard, too soft. Instead of being grateful for the bowls of porridge, chairs, and beds, she complained about most of them.
Children are not the only ones guilty of complaining. After the Israelites left Egypt, headed for the Promised Land, they were constantly complaining. Not enough water, the water was bitter, not enough food, the manna was boring, and Moses was gone too long. One group of about 250 wanted a different job. Scripture tells how they “became insolent and rose up against Moses.” The consequences for their rebellion included being swallowed alive by the earth and being consumed by fire. When the whole community began complaining to Moses about those deaths, God sent a deadly plague (Numbers 16). Just saying … we don’t want to go there!
Perhaps the answer to complaining is gratitude and getting our focus off ourselves. Paul presents this challenge, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life” (Philippians 2:14-16).
Since complaining is so contagious, let’s try something else. Let’s strive to make our words ‘just right’, speaking gratefulness and spreading words of life.