Not, this post won't address the billionaire running for the Republican nomination, but his line, combined with one from my dad, and my work on excavating our back yard and hauling dirt in a wheelbarrow, all together, have caused me to ponder an important issue of spiritual formation. Complaining.
Many years back I bought a decent wheel barrow (in the pic above) from Home Depot and used it well. And roughly at times. After much abuse, it began "complaining." With no load, it squeaked. With a heavy load it veered to the side. And every day the tire lost air, in a vain attempt to avoid more usage.
Dad often proclaimed "the squeaky wheel gets the grease," and I greased and tried to balance that squeaky barrow and inflated the tire for years. But after too much complaining, it got replaced, not regreased. So, with other debris, it's on its way to the dump. It whined but didn't win.
Not many do spiritually either. I struggle with the command, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault" (Philippians 2:14-15). Everything is pretty exhaustive. And I do want to be a blameless and pure child of God. What hinders that goal? Complaining. Whining. Add your own synonyms.
My goal is not to get nominated to run for President. I might accept a draft, but don't see one coming. However, I do want to be a child of God who represents his character. Complaining kills that. Why? It's linked to arguing, to putting people on different sides, often without listening to them. We don't like what they do, so we complain. We complain because we'd like to make them seem less than ourselves. We complain because it provides reasons for ourselves to not do better. We take an almost masochistic joy in focusing on the dark dimensions of life.
We then craft not only a negative view of life, but an insipid, weak view of God. Can God help us overcome the worst aspects of life, or is he too powerless? Either we trust God or we get discouraged by the frequency of our complaints.
Obviously, not complaining doesn't mean we ignore problems or evil or sin. God tells us to test everything, to hold on to the good and avoid the evil (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We remain aware, and take the appropriate action. Complaining doesn't have a role here, does it?
Kick Starting the Application
Spend some time evaluating your level of complaining. Do you see it as a problem? Does it help you focus more on God or the difficulties? Do you see God complaining, or acting to work through problems? Would it help you to ask someone close to let you know when you complain?