Stupid Stuff We Argue About
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Philippians 2:14-15
I took the dog outside yesterday to throw his toy. It was cold and apparently, we weren’t outside for very long. When we came back in, my wife commented on that fact. She had happened to look at the time we went out and said we were only gone for 10 or 12 minutes. I objected. I hadn’t looked at the clock, but I just knew we were outside for at least 14 or 15 minutes. Maybe I hadn’t eaten enough. Maybe I was tired. For whatever reason, I began arguing about those three minutes. It was ridiculous, but in that moment, it was worth debating. To my wife’s credit, she didn’t argue much in response. I quickly realized I was being ridiculous, but still, for a moment, I was willing to generate conflict over the absurd.
A lot of us do this. We grumble, complain, and argue and usually, we feel most free to do this in our own homes. Often, our toxic attitude is infectious, causing our spouse or kids to respond similarly. It seems that the closer we are to someone, the more likely it is that we disapprove and the more likely it is that we’ll feel free to let our disapproval be known.
In today’s passage, Paul said that this was the way of the world. It’s natural for us to be frustrated when life doesn’t go our way. Natural though, doesn’t mean right. In fact, that which comes natural to us is often self-destructive. Paul said that as followers of Christ, we must do all things without grumbling or arguing. It’s worth noting that Paul wrote this from prison. He’d been arrested for following God’s will, but still, he refused to complain about his circumstances.
I, on the other hand, find it appropriate to grumble and argue over three minutes. I’ve always said that my drug addiction was just a symptom of a greater problem. That greater problem is me. I always want things done my way. When my way is frustrated, it’s my nature to object, and unfortunately, the person who sees that selfish, contrary attitude the most is my wife. In recovery then, I don’t need to just abandon my drug use. I must daily abandon my self-centeredness.
Not everyone has struggled with drug addiction, but most of us are familiar with ridiculous complaining, arguing, and self-centeredness. Those things may be natural, but again, natural isn’t always healthy. If we want to foster healthy relationships with those closest to us, we must daily abandon our absurd grumbling and arguing.