As a parent, you become aware of things you’d never noticed in life until you’ve had that momentous shift in perspective. Things just look different in the world before and after having children. Rather pithily, Mark Twain once wrote,
“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.”
Age, and in particular rearing children, changes the way you view the world. A simple enough maxim. But one of the things I tend to see more now is how complaining looks as it issues forth from a poor little beggar like my child. I start realizing what my parents meant when they said things like “nobody likes an ingrate” and gave long-winded speeches about all they really did for us, what the starving children in China were facing, and so on.
You slave away all day at work to provide food for your little ones (or you make the food while they quietly converse in the other room) only to hear that slanderous retort regarding the meal before them, “Ewwww. I don’t like that.” Only as a father or mother can you begin to understand what’s at stake in this matter.
In my life, at least, I tend to think it’s a small thing to salt my trials with a little dash of murmuring ungratefulness. But here’s something to ponder as we go through trials in life—our heavenly Father gave us whatever station and trial we’re facing, so our complaints about whatever are actually subtle, rebellious reactions to God’s goodness. We have to stop and consider God’s view of our complaining spirits.
“Murmurers in Scripture are put in the forefront of ungodly ones, and it is a most dreadful Scripture, that the Lord, when he speaks of ungodly ones, puts murmurers in the very forefront of all. You had need to look to your spirits; you may see this murmuring, which is the vice contrary to contentment, is not as small a matter as you think… to be a murmurer, and to be a rebel, in Scripture phrase is all one; it is a rebellion against God” (J. Burroughs, Contentment, 140).
Our complaining is rebellion against God. That’s how God sees it. Is that how you treat it in yourself and in others?