I hate complaining and grumbling. I get the whole #firstworldproblem joke, but sometimes find it hard to laugh at. The petty whining that goes around!! Ugh!
But there’s something to be redeemed in it. Everything people whinge about is probably something that won’t be in paradise when we’re raised with Jesus in glory. So you stubbed your toe? Guess that won’t happen in heaven – there’s no more pain! So you didn’t get first place, or a HD like you wanted? Well there’s no crying in heaven so you’ll feel better then. So you forgot to get something from the shops and now you have to make a second trip – well in glory you’ll be perfect and won’t make silly mistakes.
So that’s my new response to complaining and grumbling… saying, “So it sounds like what you’re saying is that you really can’t wait for Jesus to return and give you your undeserved inheritance so this massive problem will go away? Is that what you’re saying?”
If you want to see people change, its pretty rare that simply telling them to change will do anything. Telling people what they should think rarely gets them thinking something different to what they already do.
But reflecting back to them what they think… that’s powerful.
It requires asking loads of questions, trying to get inside their mind, see the world from their point of view… even though you know its skewed. And reflect that to them… “So what you’re saying is, you see the world this way…”
When you genuinely reflect back to someone what they’re saying, they usually start their own self-reflection. “Is that what I’m saying? Am I happy with that? It sounds like what I said but maybe I don’t want to think that.”
An added bonus to this is that, hopefully by God’s grace as they read God’s word, they will see the correction themselves. They will create their own solution, they will decide their own course of action.
And yes, that might have been the very thing you were going to “tell” them in the first case, but oh, don’t people get behind their own ideas more than others?!?