Building One Another

E. Stanley Ott

WORD OF GRACE Vol 11 No 13

July 31, 2012

Dear Friend,

 “A certain monastery enforced a vow of silence. Each monk could utter only two words every five years, and those two words had to be spoken in the presence of the abbot, the chief monk. One of the monks, when given his opportunity to speak, said, ‘Bad food!’ Five years later, his two words were, ‘Bed hard.’ When given his third opportunity to speak five years later, he said, ‘I quit.’ ‘Well,’ said the abbot, ‘you might as well quit. All you’ve done since you got here is complain!’"1

So what is the New Testament take on grumbling?
“Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world.” Philippians 2:14-15* 

When you choose not to grumble in our culture of complaint where grumbling is what everyone does, you shine like a star and you become a picture of God’s grace for others to see. 

So you have a choice –a word of grace or a word of grumble. What we say determines whether we inspire faith and life or inspire doubt, fear, anxiety, and anger. 

When you choose not to grumble, when you address your concerns directly to the people involved and you treat them with dignity and respect, you are so out of step with the culture that people see our Lord living in you! 

In practical terms, what happens when something annoys you? If you speak to everyone but the ones creating the situation, that’s grumbling. If you speak to each other in a spirit of hostility and disrespect making point and counter point, that’s bickering. If you speak graciously directly to those involved, that’s the grace of God in you and a word of grace through you.

With joy - E. Stanley Ott
Copyright 2012 E. Stanley Ott
*Scripture from the NRSV

[1] Robert J. Morgan, Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, & Quotes, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers).