“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,“ (Philippians 2:14-15 NKJV)
Paul has unusual ideas for Christians to follow. Think about that first phrase: “do all things without grumbling and disputing.” I wonder if the ancient Greeks or Romans had a saying equivalent to “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” We know that in our world today the only way to get things done is by complaining or arguing. As to examples, that’s how the Hebrew people leaving Egypt were powered as they traveled. Paul noted that living without the negatives would reveal us as blameless and harmless as children of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. There may be a lot I don’t understand about this verse, but the more I understand the world, the more crooked and perverse it reveals itself to be.
To be honest, I’m not sure how avoiding complaining and disputing will make us blameless and harmless unless it’s that those complaints and disputes add to the problems that make this generation so crooked and perverse. Some would point out that Paul was walking about the first century in his letter, but I would quote (for the umpteenth time) my friend Dr. Tony Celelli, president of Stark College and Seminary, “We live in times that are more like the first century than anytime in history but the first century.” Someone directed me to an article earlier today that revealed some of the depths of the depravity of the age in which we live. We must be blameless in a world that seeks to blame others. We must be harmless even though it seems that some would accuse people who proclaim God’s word as being harmful – even when we proclaim the grace and forgiveness of Christ in a loving manner. Paul’s message to us today would include avoiding making complaints about others and refusing to get into arguments with those who attack us falsely or unfairly; instead, we always need to be shining the light of forgiveness and grace in our crooked and perverse world, letting God take care of cleaning things up.
Lord, I must like to complain and argue, I do so much of both things. Teach me to bite my tongue, to search for the positive even in the worst situations, and trust You to take care of what needs to be taken care of.