Flip the Perspective: Don’t complain? Really?

March 7, 2010 — 2 Comments

The following was a bulletin insert for the young people at Calvary Assembly on the topic of complaining. It is filed under the Creative Commons license, meaning you can take it, use it, and remix it. Just give me a thanks if you do.

…A Word from Jonathan

flip-perspective

There is nothing better in the morning than taking a nice, long, hot shower.  This morning, I woke up frustrated, as the water for my shower was cold.  Not freezing cold, but cold enough to make me uncomfortable.  I don’t know if it was because it was a colder night and the pipes were cold, or what the problem was, but it was an unpleasant way to start my day.

I wanted to call my landlord and tell him to get it fixed, but it seemed a bit too soon.  Yes, I do pay my rent and heating bill on time every month, and I had a whole host of reasons as to why I should have hot water every morning.

As I was standing in the cold shower, attempting to wash myself quicker than normal, I thought back to the verse found in Philippians 2:14 that says, “Do everything without complaining or arguing.”  To me, this seems like a ridiculous standard.  Really? Everything without complaining?  Think of the irony – I’m actually complaining about this being too high of a standard!

Then I thought about putting my complaint into perspective.  According to a recent health care statistic, over 884 million people around the world do not have access to clean drinking water.  For us, we can drink the water we bathe in.  Others can’t even find safe water to drink!  To think how insanely blessed we are can go a long way in helping to stop our useless complaining.

Maybe you complain about school because your teacher is treating you unfairly or you feel you are receiving too much homework.  But if you flip your perspective, you can be thankful that you are getting a solid education that will provide you a variety of opportunities for your future.  Maybe you complain because your parents seem like ridiculous human beings.  Next time it seems this way, think of how many times you have acted irrationally and maybe this can help allow you to give some grace to your parents.

As for me, I think I’ll go downstairs and turn the water heater up a notch and leave my landlord out of it.  Complaining without first trying to help the solution on our own usually doesn’t help anyone.

Thoughts?

Jonathan Sigmon

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2 responses to Flip the Perspective: Don’t complain? Really?

  1. I should really be asleep already, but I saw you posted this recently, and wouldn’t want to forget (or complain, as it were). So after giving it a good read-through, here are my feelings on the matter. By the way, great subject, and personally, something that I’ve been striving to improve upon myself.
    Just to start things off, I totally agree with you. It does seem wrong to complain about such minor hiccups in our own lives, especially when there are so many underpriveldged children, families, people, etc. living without basic survival items. That’s not to pick on you, Sig, just to use your example. (By the way, nice stat usage.)
    I actually saw a piece on South Africa and how childrens’ educations are being impacted in a negative way. Which ties so very nicely into your other example. In the piece, it is explained that when students are late, a gate-gaurdsman (of sorts) physically closes this school/compounds’ gate on them. Surprising? Maybe. However, a closer look inside the school reveals the real problem. Teachers from 8 out of the 10 classrooms didn’t even show up themselves! One first wonders, what’s the point of enforcing tardiness of the students, if the teachers aren’t even there? This is an issue that would be almost unheard of in America. Oh, and did I mention that this is something that I would definitely complain about? But that’s sort of the point, right? I mean, I have to wonder if those kids even mind. They probably don’t complain, and they are being robbed of an opportunity to advance themselves in society. Not personally knowing what the situation is in South Africa, I couldn’t enlighten you on whether or not a public school system, complete with taxes and the like, is even in place. If there is, this is an even greater tragedy than I first thought. Either way, American students that do receive excessive work assignments (the same kind that I once complained about, myself) should count their blessings that at least their teachers care enough about them (or the meager pay) to give the effort of trying to educate them. In more instances than not, being an American itself is such a blessing that few of the general population realizes. Probably due to being absorbed with everyday life…which is a whole other problem that needs to be tackled.
    We definitely need to open our eyes, and take all of these different variables into account when we view our life. So when we do take a step back, and compare ourselves to others who are less fortunate, we can put everything into perspective. If we think that we have problems… well, that’s just a really self-centered way of dealing with stuff that can be handled. It is inspiring to see the people who actually have good reasons to complain, choose not to, but to just work with what they do have.
    Maturity does play a big role in this though. That’s my disclaimer, haha.
    Good night! One Love, Peace,
    Rem

    • @Ken – I couldn’t agree more with your assessment. I really liked the line: “It is inspiring to see the people who actually have good reasons to complain, choose not to, but to just work with what they do have.” We often associate happiness with wealth, which is stupid, but is hard to dis-associate sometimes. Thanks for your thoughts – good stuff!

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