Philippians 2:14-15New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.
Do something….but don’t complain.
My children and I have been studying in Exodus about the Israelites. We have been amazed at the amount of complaining that they did. It is hard to believe that they did not realize all that God was doing for them. He made a way for them to get out of Egypt, where they had been in bondage. He made a way for them to be free. Yet all they did was grumble and complain about the way God was doing things. As we read and discussed the complaining that the Israelites were doing, I got madder and madder! Then it hit me. I complain! Maybe a lot! Do I realize how blessed I am? Two of my many goals for the New Year are to stop complaining and also not let the complainers bother me so much. Following are things you can do instead of complaining.
If something is not going the way I think it should, I need to jump in and see if I can help. Or if I see a way something could work better, I could make suggestions in a constructive way.
I used to complain a lot more until I started taking on more projects. Now I see that things are harder than they sometimes seem.
2. See things from a different perspective.
I should try to put myself in other people’s shoes and see things from a different perspective.
We were involved with a sport this year that had many organizational issues. Many of the parents complained a lot about the people who were in charge. The parents did not understand why things were not more organized and why we did not already have coaches at the beginning of the season. I spoke with the people in charge about the issues the parents were having. They explained to me that they did not have enough people volunteer to be coaches. They thought if they went ahead and started the season, some of the parents would realize they needed help. It helped me stop complaining when I understood the perspective of those in charge.
3. Think of something positive about the situation before complaining.
Maybe I don’t like that we are having a ladies event on a Tuesday because a Thursday would be much better. Or maybe I don’t like that they chose to serve chicken instead of steak. What I should be thinking instead is what a blessing it will be to spend a night with all these wonderful ladies!
But what if instead of being the complainer you are the one being complained about?
One of the hardest things for me in the past was that I was afraid to step up when I saw a need. Why? Because I knew that someone would complain about how I was taking care of that need. I was afraid to help because someone would think I was doing it wrong. It was not until a few years ago that I realized that it was better to be doing something than to be doing nothing at all. Those that grumbled and complained about the job I was doing had not taken it upon themselves to fix the problem. What finally made me stop worrying about it was the realization that it should not about ME. I should only concern myself with doing the best job I can to help others. So here are things you can do if someone is complaining about you.
1. Make sure that there is no truth to the complaint.
If there is even a tiny bit of constructive criticism in the complaint, I try to correct it. If it is just an idol complaint, I try to realize the complaint is not really about me. I remind myself that I am only doing what needs to be done.
2. Acknowledge and listen to the complainer.
Sometimes I don’t get the chance to know who is complaining; but if I do get that opportunity, I listen and acknowledge that I hear their complaint. Sometimes people who complain just want to be heard. If you will listen and acknowledge them, sometimes the complaining will stop. Other times at this point I will explain my reasons for my decisions. I realize that they may not care or wish to hear my reasons. But it does make me feel better to share my reasons.
3. Delegate a job to the complainer.
If someone is complaining about how I am doing something, I sometimes delegate that task to the complainer. This has been a great way to stop the complaining. Either that person will stop complaining because he doesn’t want to do it, he will be flattered you asked, or he will do it and understand the difficulty you are experiencing.
This is what is most helpful to me. I pray for the complainers and that they will be blessed. I pray for the work that I am doing and that I will do it to the best of my ability. Then I put it all in God’s hands and remember that it’s not about me. I want God to be glorified in all that I do.
I encourage you to take on a task that you have not tried before without worrying about those who will complain. If you are the one who complains, try out these ideas I have suggested and see if they help you.