Doug Johnson: Complaint about others says much about us

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 19, 2023

Once upon a time, there was a man who decided to join a monastery.

He was given the opportunity to say only two words every year.

After the first year passed, he was called in and allowed to say two words.

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He said, “Food bad.”

Another year later, his two words were “Bed hard.”

After his third year he said, “I quit.”

The bishops responded, “We’re not surprised. You’ve been complaining ever since you got here!”

This comical story illustrates how some people deal with their problems by complaining.

However, I have found that complaining never solves anything.

In fact, when I complain I am actually wasting valuable time I could have spent fixing the problem.

You see, everyone faces problems in life and we all have to learn how to deal with them.

Some problems are even caused by other people.

Years ago, a pastor had on his desk a notebook labeled, “Complaints of Members Against Members.”

When one of his congregation stopped by to tell him the fault of another, he would say, “Well, here’s my complaint book. I’ll write down what you say, and you can sign it. Then when I have to take the matter up officially, I’ll know what I may expect you to testify to.”

The sight of the open book and the ready pen had its effect. “Oh no, I couldn’t sign anything like that,” they would say.

And no entry was made.

The minister said he kept the book for 40 years, opened it probably a thousand times and never wrote a line in it.

God understands how it feels when people come against us.

The Bible tells us not to complain but to trust God.

1 Peter 5:7 says: “Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.”

However, some folks just won’t trust God. They even move away, thinking they can run from their problems. But they soon find out it doesn’t work.

Several years ago, a train pulled into a small Quaker town in Pennsylvania.

As it stopped, a stranger swung off the train.

He walked over to the group of people on the platform and asked, “What type of town is this and what kind of people live here?”

A local Quaker looked him in the eye and asked, “What kind of place did you come from and what were the people like who lived there?”

The stranger replied, “They were hard people to get along with and the town was noisy.”

Without hesitation the Quaker told him, “This is the same kind of town and the same kind of people live here.”

So, the stranger got back on the train.

The next afternoon when the train pulled in, off popped another stranger.

Smiling, he approached the group of local Quakers on the platform and cheerily said, “Hi there. I’m looking for a town to live in permanently. What do you have here?”

Once more the Quaker replied, “Where did you come from and what were the people like?”

In the same happy tone, the stranger said, “I came from a happy place, the people were kind and friendly.”

Without hesitation, the Quaker told him, “You’ll find the same kind of people here.”

So what kind of person are you? Do you tend to complain and be hard to get along with or do you choose to be kind and trust the Lord?

The truth is: troubles will come, and people will let you down.

But Jesus cares about you.

So instead of complaining, cast your problems on Him because He can bring good out of any situation!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.