Complaint Free

Complaining is Harder when the Annoying Person is No Longer Around.

Ed was my neighbor for seven years; now he is my adopted cousin. My old neighbor has been going through a case of withdrawal, since our exit from next door. Ruby, Ed’s wife, emailed last week saying that Ed has been missing me. He has suffered because I’m no longer a never-ending supply of reasons to keep him busy complaining. Now, he has no new complaints to offer about me to others at coffee.

My old neighbor takes an instant dislike to some people. Seven years ago, when Ed learned that I was a retired pastor, he bluntly told me he did not like preachers. For the next seven years, he found a multitude of reasons to confirm in his mind, why he should continue to dislike me. A couple of times in the seven years, Ed admitted that on a few things I was alright, but that didn’t change the fact that I was a preacher, and he has never liked preachers. Ed told me that I shouldn’t be offended. There are quite a few people that he has never liked and never will like. They are; most politicians but particularly Liberals, bankers, dentists, pencil-pushers, and teetotalers. My old neighbor said that everyone has their list of unlikable people, about whom they like to complain.

I suspect Ed would not like Will Bowen either. Will Bowen has written two books on our ability to stop complaining. I suspect that Ed would not want a complaint free world or complaint free relationships with others. I admit that, both Ed and me, are good at complaining about other folks and situations. Complaining is an ability that dates back to Adam and Eve. When they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they brought to us the desire to put people and things into either good or evil labels. We may judge others as good or evil, as if, they have to be one or the other. When we decide someone is mean, we refuse to consider them as also being nice. Some folks don’t like us and are determined they never will. Do we need to realize that other folks are a mixture of both good and evil? It is hard to admit we are also.

In heaven, the bliss will not be broken by any complaining. There, we will be free of complaints and our relationships with others will be without grumbling. Until heaven, we have the example of Jesus, who did not complain about those putting him to death, but prayed that God would forgive them for they did not know what they were doing. We don’t know what we are doing when we complain about others. Complaining about others is contrary, to our need to love others as ourselves. Complaints have the potential to destroy our relationships with others and wound ourselves. The Bible instructs us to, “Do everything without complaining and arguing that we may become the pure and blameless children of God.” Will Bowen challenges people to go 21 days without uttering a single complaint about anyone or anything! Both Ed and I need to try it! Will you try it too?

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Raymond Maher
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