“A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike,” notes Solomon in Proverbs 27.
It’s a reminder that recently hit home for me. Maybe you can relate. Two summers ago our family moved across the country (AGAIN!) and I had an eye issue that literally almost left me blind. I had three emergency surgeries back-to-back-to-back to save my sight and after each one I was completely blind for two weeks. Of course, I have four children, the youngest was a baby, so to say that this was a stressful time would be a severe understatement.
During this traumatic experience my husband bought us a house. He loves it, but when I could see well enough to really look at it, I burst into tears and cried for two weeks straight. It is an old and poorly built three story home. To make matters worse, it’s on a very steep hill at the bottom of a mountain and the driveway was in such terrible condition that nearly everyone who visited got stuck coming up it. It was so embarrassing! Only the middle story is finished and things began breaking the second we signed the papers to buy it (which I couldn’t even see when I signed). I was furious with my husband!
We immediately realized that neither the refrigerator or dishwasher worked. (The previous owners had used double-sided tape to get them through the inspection.) One of the exterior doors is broken and can’t be used. The back deck is literally being held up by a heap of old tires. The siding is rotting; the bathroom floor is rotten. About three weeks after we moved in the latch on the front door jammed and it couldn’t be opened. Cupboard doors and drawers are so warped that they no longer close all of the way. I could go on, but we would be here all day. (And it’s uglier than sin!)
My mail lady had to drive up the driveway (which her car got stuck on) to deliver packages and seemed to always arrive as some repair or delivery person was fixing yet another broken or unusable part of our house. She always laughed good-naturedly at the constant drama, but I was seething with rage and let her know every time how much I hated this house and how it was all my husband’s fault.
One day after she brought the mail, I walked back into the house and noticed the sign I have hanging on the wall listing the fruit of the Spirit: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).” Not one of those words could have described me. Holy conviction hit hard. Here I was, a representative of Christ, and the only thing that this woman knew about me was how much I hated my house. I was ungrateful, whiney and angry. What was wrong with me?!? How could I tell her about Jesus after my terrible behavior?
Paul tells us to do everything without complaining (Phil. 2:14) and there is good reason for that. Not only does complaining hurt our own spirit, but constant complaining in front of others squelches our witness. How can we tell others about the abundant life that Jesus offers when we are regularly broadcasting our own misery?
That day I confessed my sin and vowed to stop complaining all of the time! It’s not easy and fail often. I have to bite my tongue every time I trudge down two flights of stairs in order to fetch my clothes that are in baskets lining the laundry room wall because I don’t have a closet and just today when I was putting away the dishes the door handle on a cupboard broke off into my hand. But I am trying to exercise some self-control over what comes out of my mouth and be grateful that my children have a roof over their heads, even if it does need to be replaced. How about you?
(For those who have missed any of the previous lessons, you can go to https://comethirstyministry.com/blog/ and view all previous postings.)
Day 1: Proverbs 27 (A Cranky Woman)
Day 2: Proverbs 31:1-31 (The Virtuous Woman)
Day 3: Song of Solomon 1:1-17 (Lovers)
Day 4: Song of Solomon 2:1-17 (Lovers)
Day 5: Song of Solomon 3:1-11 (Lovers)