A man joined a monastery where the monks could only speak two words every seven years. After the first seven years passed the novitiate met with the abbot who asked him for his two words. “Food’s bad” replied the man.

He then went back to spend another seven years before once again meeting with his ecclesiastical superior. “What are your two words now?” asked the priest. “Bed’s hard” responded the man.

Seven years later the man met with the abbot for the third time. “And what are your two words this time?” he was asked. “I quit” was the reply. “I’m not surprised” answered the cleric, “All you’ve done since you got here is complain.”

Chances are we complain a bit more than once every seven years. In fact, complaining happens a lot. Probably much more than we even realize. And in this Thanksgiving season where we focus on gratitude a challenge to stop complaining is needed.

Complaining is easy to do. But it’s not good for us. Doctors have found that people who complain about their health diminish their role in recovery from illness. And they can actually worsen the symptoms of their disease.

Complaining hurts our relationships. People who complain frequently are labeled as whiners and can risk being excluded from social groups. They can end up losing friends because of their complaints.

Complaining is contagious. It drags conversations in a negative direction. Complaining begets complaining. It feeds on itself. This creates a loop where people feed off each other’s negativity draining them emotionally.

Now not everything we talk about is a complaint. If your computer is not working right and you call tech support and tell them the problem – that is not a complaint. But if you walk around the office telling everyone what a piece of junk your computer is then you are complaining.

If complaining is so destructive, why do we complain? Many people complain to get attention. They use complaining as a means to draw attention to themselves.

Sometimes we complain as a way of connecting with others. It’s a way of starting a conversation. We say, “It’s only November it shouldn’t be this cold.” But there are better ways to communicate. “What’s good in your life today?” will always work.

Philippians 2:14 tells us, “Do everything without complaining.” Accept the challenge to not complain and improve your attitude, your outlook, your life. When we stop complaining about what’s missing in our lives and start being thankful for all we have - life changes for the better.


About Rick McDaniel

Rick McDaniel is a noted author, international communicator and church leader. He is the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, Virginia. The church is known for its contemporary and innovative services and has a worldwide reach through McDaniel has earned three degrees including an advanced degree from Duke University and is the author of​ six​​ books including his latest "Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks." He has traveled and spoken at conferences and churches worldwide spanning six continents.

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 New Devotional from Pastor Rick McDaniel: Vida De Alto Impacto con Rick McDaniel

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