We’ve all cringed in our stomachs when we’ve seen self-proclaimed Christians engage in bouts of complaining or arguing with those around them.
If such has happened at work or school or among relatives, this has been particularly saddening.
Why? Because it sets such a bad example for the unsaved who already tend toward the belief that Christians are phonies using religion as a crutch and a control mechanism.
Satan, of course, quickly exploits such griping as he whispers “They’re hypocrites!” into the ears of the observing non-believers.
I wish I could say that churches are devoid of complaining and arguing.
It breaks my heart to hear of caustic calamities that cripple congregations.
I’ve seen some disgusting displays of religious conflict that pushed me to the brink of nausea.
These must have pained God even more.
When believers act like non-believers by bellying up to the bar of bashing others, Christian influence drains faster than a popped water balloon.
This shouldn’t be.
How much better it is when Christians face difficult times, yet demonstrate a measure of emotional and spiritual peace that allows them to calmly take constructive steps and encourage others hindered by unfortunate developments.
At such times, faithful self-control shines like a 10 million-candlepower lighthouse because virtually everybody else would whine and gripe and look for payback opportunities.
I pray that you are one who rejects the temptation to complain and argue.
I pray that every person in your congregation sees you as a calm, humble person who never complains about others, never argues with others, never attacks others and who quickly intervenes into the fray with words that build up others.
This is how Christ was and is.
This is how we are to be.
It is not easy, of course.
Our human nature savors payback time.
And if we can’t punch them or pinch them, we’ll punish them in some way.
Even if only complaining about them, arguing with them or gossiping about them.
Honestly evaluate yourself just now.
Have others heard you complaining lately?
Have you found yourself arguing with others?
If so, you have some things to say to God, don’t you?
If non-Christians heard any of this complaining or arguing, you also have some things to say to them, don’t you?
The implications of our behavior in this regard are too important to ignore this principle of verbal self-control.
Please don’t think that I’m lecturing today because I’m the guru of goodness. Like you, I’m made of clay and I’m sure that I’ve slipped in the past and have complained in front of non-Christians. I shouldn’t have, but I probably did. Shame on me.
I diligently seek to avoid such, though, because of the implications for the Kingdom.
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life” (Philippians 2:14-16a)
Christians often think that they can’t evangelize because they can’t preach sermons or debate atheists or quote long lists of scripture. These three forms of ministry are greatly worthwhile, but they aren’t the definition of evangelism.
Evangelism is the sharing of the Good News, the gospel. And unless we first SHOW the Good News with our behavior, our efforts to SHARE the Good News just might fall on ears turned off by our phony faith.
Became a better ambassador for Christ, my friend. Reject every temptation to complain and argue. Shine like a star in the blackened universe and you’ll hold out the Word of Life to people wandering in darkness.
As always, I love you