In this blog I want to share something I’m dealing with and that has become very magnified living here in Thailand. I didn’t realise I had this problem and when I got to know the Thai’s I thought it was just a Thai problem – what they call “Preup Teeup” – but I’ve discovered it’s really a human problem. It’s my problem!
It’s the problem of comparing. Where does it spring from? Why am I so prone to it and find it easy to do?
Now, I know there is a good form of comparing – when I want to assess how I am doing in sports, or some other activity so that I can gauge whether I am actually improving or not.
But rather, it’s the following form of comparing I want to address as the Lord has begun to speak to me about it…
A complaining or murmuring attitude is borne out of a heart that compares – Why do we have to do it if they don’t? Why do they get to have that but we don’t? Why do they get to go and we don’t? How come they have better support than I do? Why do they get noticed and I don’t? I could go on with examples, but do you get the picture?
Our comparing leads to us complaining. We begin to grumble about what is, or what is not, or what should be.
When I complain I am not bringing life to the person I am complaining too! Rather, I am bringing a form of death – discouragement. So, if complaining helps to produce death the opposite would also be true – when I don’t complain I’m helping to produce life!
Oh but Paul, you say, I don’t complain to people I just complain to God! Well, what is your complaining to God doing to your relationship with him? Is it growing your relationship with him, bringing intimacy and a deeper appreciation of his love for you? Is it helping you to fall more in love with him?
I doubt it very much. The opposite would be more to the truth.
The fruit of living life without grumbling or complaining is that it will help us in living a life which is blameless and pure. In other words, there won’t be things that people can accuse us of, we’ll be above reproach! You see, there’s something beautiful and attractive about people who don’t complain but show a spirit of gratefulness.
That’s what Paul tells us in Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV):  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…
What kind of life am I living? Is it bringing life to others or is it bringing death. Are there things that people can easily criticize us for? Like people who talk incessantly, I don’t enjoy being around people who complain a lot – they seem so negative and have trouble seeing the brighter, better side of life!
A non-complaining life is a life that empowers – it will empower me and it will empower others.
Do I find myself falling easily into the trap of comparing? A wonderful posture I am discovering that helps to combat the tendency to compare is to have a heart and an attitude of gratefulness.
I find I compare most when I am not grateful. May I grow in my attitude of gratefulness that I soon develop a habit of gratefulness! This is my safeguard against comparing, complaining and ungratefulness.
What am I grateful for? These are good things to be pondering and meditating on.
What about you? What are you grateful for? When was the last time you expressed your gratefulness?
Begin to share your gratefulness with others, especially with those who are complaining and watch the changes that happen. It really is hard to keep complaining when the person I’m complaining to begins to express things they are grateful for! Now when I find myself falling into a complaining posture I want to try looking for things I can be grateful for and start speaking them out. There will always be something I can be grateful for if I just take a little look.
Give it a try…