Do you habitually complain, whine, argue and grumble? Do you know anyone who does not? It seems to have become a habit for many of us. You may know murmurings as being critical of others, bitterness, bickering, protesting or being unsociable. Pessimism. Negativity. In the New Testament, Paul said: “Do you do all things without murmuring and disputing?”
By the way, the word “murmurings” Paul refers to the complaints of the Israelites during their wanderings.
Have you noticed that people get caught up in heated and unending political discussions? — lots of murmurings going on there. Our government’s administration has caused new policies and procedures being enacted or offered – big time murmurings at home and the office. Our culture is changing and we have continuous big time murmurings and complaints.
What do we do in answer to Apostle Paul’s instruction – not to complain in all things. Sometimes it’s hard not to vent. Sometimes it feels good to get it off your chest. It’s hard to comply with the old adage, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” How can we tweak that? It seems niceness, politeness and respect are slowly moving down the tubes.
We could say, “If you can only say something negative, don’t say anything at all”. Negative begets negative. Positive begets positive. It’s difficult to be positive when things are looking bleak and/or scary, but does it help to heap more negativity onto the pile?
It can become a habit to view everything with a sour outlook which becomes a bitterness and creates more murmurings. There’s little worse than facing each day with doom and gloom. Becoming embittered won’t change the political problem of the day or create a new healthcare plan.
Listen to yourself and see how you approach these subjects. Do you always say things like, “I’m afraid that….” or “I know that things are going to get worse before they get better”…..or “I hate this or I hate that or I hate them or I hate him ….” or “That’s BS” or “they’re stupid” or “they are such a bunch of #&%$’s. And the beat goes on and the words become more heated and your murmurings may keep you from sleeping well at night. Your fear and hate will become self-fulfilling. You become what you think.
We can offset these complaints by offering words of hope and compassion. Change your heart and you will change your attitude. Kind thoughts and acts will replace your habits of negative thoughts. Negative and Positive thoughts cannot share the same space in your mind. Crowd out those negative ones. God is still in control and local, national and world events are not as hopeless as we make them. Many others before us have lived through challenging times. Bad times seem to be cyclical and eventually change from bad to better.
Be an agent for change. They say if you force yourself to smile, you will feel uplifted. ‘A smile is the lighting system of the face’…it sure beats the frowns and growls. Smiles beget smiles. Maybe your co-worker or spouse or friend is tired of ‘murmuring’ or listening to yours, too, and you can make the difference to change that.
Don’t get bogged down by the signs of the times. If you are spiritual, try to maintain a cheerful, willing mind, as we do what God has instructed. “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” (Phil. 2:14-16a).
Fill your spirit with Paul’s teaching: It can work and all you have to lose are your frown lines.
Marie Coppola (C) Revised February 2019