Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shining Light

Scripture Texts: Philippians 2:12-30; Psalms 2

Paul writes, "Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you." Upon reading this it sure makes sense, however there is a struggle. The struggle is that complaining can feel really good in the moment. Offering up complaints allows us to air our feelings, or at least that's what it seems to be. In reality, complaining is often a tool used to either avoid something about ourselves, or tear someone down so we look better.

Something else happens when you are prone to criticize, other people are more willing to criticize you. Perhaps that is why Paul follows up that statement with the encouragement, "Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people." When we engage in complaining our lives are not being lived as clean and innocent, rather we match more with the crooked and perverse of the world.

Turning the lens to marriage, it seems for some complaining about their spouse is done as frequent as breathing. Others have turned complaining into a sport or an art form. Once it begins the complaining usually knows no bounds. Not only do people complain to their spouse, they also complain about their spouse to others. All the while the complaining begets complaining. When one spouse only hears complaints they tend to return the complaint, and the cycle is born.

The complaint cycle can very easily spiral out of control to the point where the only form of communication between spouses is complaining. What would happen if we began to break the cycle? What if we decided to make God honoring marriages that focused on living clean and innocent lives that are a shining light to the world?

One of the best ways to make this change is to step out of the spiral. This does not mean we simply dismiss all of the things that cause friction in a relationship. Instead we have conversations that point to a mutual working with the friction rather than a list of complaints. This certainly means a conversation between spouses only and not anyone who happens to be in earshot.

You will be amazed what happens when a marriage is lived without complaining about your spouse. At first people might not notice. Eventually people will notice there is something different about your marriage. It will be noticed that there is not complaining about your spouse but a focus on living well the life that God calls us to. This will make a shining light in a crooked and perverse world.

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