Complaining is a person’s way of acknowledging that they are not happy with the way things are. In a metaphorical way, when we complain or criticize, we are tearing down an undesirable structure in order to make room for something new. But if all we do is tear down, never bothering to summon the creative energy required to create something new, we are not fulfilling the process. In fact, we are at risk for becoming a stagnant and destructive force in our own lives and in the lives of the people we love. Another issue with complaining is that we sometimes tend to focus on other people, whom we can’t change, as a way of deflecting attention from the one person we can change—ourselves. So transforming complaining into something useful is a twofold process that begins with turning our critical eye to look at things we can actually do something about, and then taking positive action.
When we find ourselves complaining, the last thing we need to do is get down on ourselves. Instead, we can begin by noticing that we are in the mode of wanting to make some changes. But rather than lashing out at somebody or an organization, we can look for an appropriate place to channel this energy—not our neighbor’s house, but possibly parts of our own. Finally, we can ask ourselves the positive question of what we would like to create in the place of whatever it is we want to tear down. When we do this, we channel a negative habit into a creative process, thus using our energy to change the world around us in a positive way.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-22
We exhort you, brothers, admonish the disorderly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient toward all. See that no one returns evil for evil to anyone, but always follow after that which is good, for one another, and for all.
Pray without ceasing.
In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.
Don't quench the Spirit.
Don't despise prophesies.
Test all things, and hold firmly that which is good.
Abstain from every form of evil.
2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching.
But exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called “today;” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.