One problem with complaints is that they don’t always look like a problem.
Sometimes they just look like a little piece of shared information. A helpful idea. A thought.
Unless you’re the one listening to them.
When I tell the kids that we need to speed up bedtime because I still have two hours worth of housecleaning to finish, they know I’m not expressing how excited I am to hurry downstairs and lovingly serve my family.
When I remind everyone that it really wouldn’t kill them to pick up their dirty socks, my intention has nothing to do with offering a little encouragement about their health.
And when I tell my husband that I’m sorry the house is such a mess since I spent all my time dealing with the bad attitude of a “certain someone”, he’s bright enough to understand that I’m not actually apologizing for the unwashed dishes.
You see, I don’t do a lot of complaining. Not directly, at least.
I do a lot of back door complaining instead. I sneak it in, as though no one will notice it for what it really is. I act like I’m simply handing out advice or stating a fact.
But I don’t live with a bunch of fools, and I’m communicating my discontent loud and clear. I am unintentionally telling my family that making a home for them is a burden.
If I’m not careful, I could discourage my daughter from wanting to follow in my homemaking footsteps. I could paint a picture of frustration that will scare her away from one of the greatest joys on earth.
Well, I’m locking the back door. I’m taking a stand against those comments that roll off my tongue all too often.
It won’t be easy, but it needs done.
Instead of hinting around or making sarcastic comments when I have an issue to deal with, I’ll say it directly (and politely). Or I’ll keep my mouth shut.
Ephesians 4:29 says:
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
I have a feeling that when God says, “no corrupting talk,” He means it.
Not even my cute little comments or snide remarks.
If it isn’t “good for building up” or doesn’t “give grace”, then it needs said in a different way or not at all. Period.
And God doesn’t need a back door to communicate that truth.
This post has been updated and republished from the archives.