So here’s a challenging verse: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” (Philippians 2:14) My first reaction is to
qualify Paul’s words “do everything” so that I can have some wiggle room here to grumble and complain about the things I don’t like. Paul doesn’t really mean ‘do everything’ without grumbling does he? Unfortunately he does.
Paul goes on to explain why we need to practice this behavior, “so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” (2:15)
The default mode of the world around us is to grumble and argue about everything. Reality television wouldn’t exist if the producers couldn’t find a steady stream of people willing to complain and fight with each other. I’m sure that at your place of work you can quickly identify the individuals who are known for their constant complaining. There is probably no shortage of folks who just seem happy to argue about any trivial matter.
If we are going to live out our Christian faith in a way that makes a difference then we’ll need to be noticed. When we refuse to enter into the contest of grumbling and arguing it sets us apart from some pretty typical behavior. We can use our words to bless and build up rather than tear down and bring strife. The world has enough people who see the negative in everything out there. There is a great need for people who bring life giving words and offer reconciliation rather than snappy comebacks.
As followers of Christ we need to stand out in a crooked generation. It’s not easy, but we could start with praying, like the Psalmist, that God would put a guard over our mouths.