Winter Windshield Whining
These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires. . . Jude 1:16
It’s February in Minnesota, which means cold mornings and frosted over windshields. The other day, I was running a late to the gym when I left the house and noticed my windshield was once again frozen over. I’d started my pickup a few minutes earlier with the remote starter, so there was this little open patch at the bottom of the windshield through which I could see. I can make it. I started to pull out of the driveway and found myself irritated that the ice was also built up on my side windows, making it impossible to see approaching cars. Grumbling to myself, I started out for the gym but didn’t make it very far before I had to pull over, get out, and properly scrape off all my windows. Then, it was fine. I should have just done that to start with, but instead, I had to complain about it for a while first.
I can be prone to this. When I find that the world doesn’t work the way I think it should, I’m offended. My irritation seeks release and the easiest expression is to complain. I’m not consciously aware that I’m deriving instant gratification from whining, but that’s exactly why I do it. It makes me feel better. It fixes absolutely nothing, and the satisfaction is short-lived, but still, it pleases me to moan and grumble.
We all know those who are chronically discontent. I’m not talking about depression, although this mindset may be prone to depression. I’m talking about those who know best about everything and are continually irritated that the world doesn’t go their way. These individuals constantly complain about everything and everyone. Everybody in the world is an idiot except them. They know how everything should be done and no one does anything right. So, they whine and criticize, never experiencing a moment of contentment. These are the malcontents Jude spoke of in today’s passage. Their discontent, he said, is a symptom of their self-centeredness and spiritual darkness.
I don’t think I’m chronically discontent, but I do need to guard against complaining because it’s an easy outlet. When confronted with a world that doesn’t go my way, I like to criticize. In reading today’s passage, I’m thinking of a specific situation in my life right now about which I’ve been highly and openly critical. Have I done anything about it? No. I just grumble. The challenge when I’m offended, is to either let the issue go, or address it appropriately. Complaining – being a malcontent – may make me feel better for a moment, but ultimately, it fixes nothing and is toxic to my spiritual life.