A Little Cheese with that Whine?
By Jane Thornton –
“I don’t want to do it that way.”
“I’m sooo tired; I just can’t.”
“Why do we have to do this?!”
Complaints from my children or my students? No. These quotes are from mature, adult, professional colleagues—unfortunately, myself included. In fact, the other day I shrank in horror, too late to withdraw my address to my class. “If y’all would just do what I ask, I wouldn’t have to nag.” A definite, whining twang resonated through my words.
From my observations, most of the adult world has not outgrown this habit. Only the subjects have changed. One could argue that our gripes grow from worthier sources than those of our children, but from God’s perspective, perhaps not.
I run the memory verse program at our church. Proud, young children come to spout off their recitations for a prize. I try to make sure they understand what they are saying, taking to heart one of the verses, James 1:22: “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (NIV) I delight in nailing third graders when they sing-song through Philippians 2:14: “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (NIV) I tend to pounce with glee. “That’s an easy one, isn’t it? But, boy, is it hard to do. I want you to try to remember this one when Mom asks you to clean your room!”
Oh, ye hypocrite! Ye whited sepulcher! Take the log from your own eye, Jane, before you try to remove the splinter from a child’s. But, will a guilt trip successfully end my bemoaning? None of my previous journeys through remorse have done so more than temporarily.
What, then? Let us remind ourselves of the joy available to us daily because of “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:18 (NIV) Let us remember that right before He tells us not to complain, he promises that “it is God who works in [us] to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13 (NIV) That means He will not only help us do His will, He’ll help us want to do so. And let us find hope in Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV)
And, of course, every once in while, thank God for that friend who has the gall to slap us awake by asking, “Would you like a little cheese to go with that whine?”