Complaint attracts complaint. Put a moaner in a workplace and by the end of the week they’ll have befriended every gossip in the office (and the lunch room will know about it…). So how do we do the opposite, and spread infectiously generous language? Try a simple first step: the swear jar model…
Choose how you’ll complete today’s act:
Make a whinge tin. Every time you complain, drop a coin in. At the end of the day, donate the cash. (You could also make the fine something else, like running another person’s errands.)
Don’t just settle for paying the fine – make a conscious effort to cut the whinges altogether, opting for positivity in its place.
Make your whinge tin public. Tell your team at work, your family, or church community that you’re going to start one, and ask them to join you.
“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”
(James 3:5 NIV)
Your thought for today:
A memory springs to mind. It concerns a friend, now removed (mainly by his own volition, I should add) to cheer up the inhabitants of a distant country. I shall call him Jim. Jim developed an annoying habit. During group debates or discussions, he would ask the rest of us a question, tell us how we were going to answer it, and then tell us we were wrong. An example: ‘What do you lot think is the fundamental problem with our church? Yes, I know you’ll say it’s something to do with outreach, but it’s not. I’ll tell you the main thing that’s wrong…’
Jim’s wearily hectoring tone, and his total exclusion of us brain-dead ones from the discussion, became seriously infuriating. At first, we tried to be Christian about it. Patience, forgiveness, grace – all that sort of stuff. Eventually, however, it became an unstated but indisputable fact that, if something didn’t change, we would probably have to kill him – in love. Fortunately, this less-than-spiritual solution to the problem was avoided by one of us, wiser that the rest, taking Jim aside and explaining, firmly but gently, that his habitually moaning dismissal of other people’s opinions was unpleasant and unhelpful. Jim listened, and he changed – most of the time.
We are lucky to have the example of Jesus. He could be very direct, but often when someone asked an important question – something like ‘Who is my neighbour?’ – His reply came in the form of a story. Why? Well, we don’t like being moaned at. We don’t listen. Why would we? We love stories, though. They create space and opportunity for us to work out answers for ourselves, and those, as Jesus knew full well, are the answers we are happy to own. Moaning doesn’t work.
Written by Adrian Plass
Author of over 30 books, Adrian Plass is a writer and speaker who lives in Sussex. Information on his current projects can be found on his website.
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