When I was newly married and helping put my husband through his final year of college, I worked at a drug store behind the camera counter which doubled as the return desk. It was a deep immersion into the world of complaints.
One of the most memorable was a post-Christmas encounter with a man dissatisfied with the binoculars his wife had purchased for him. Shoving the unsatisfactory pair at me, he said, “You’re going to have to pawn these off on somebody else.”
A person who can do everything without complaining or arguing (Philippians 2:4) is truly perfect. It seems to me that the challenge has to do with learning to remain kind under painful circumstances, to trust in God and the good intentions of most of the people we encounter, and with speaking the truth in love.
Our maturity shines as we grow in this area of our lives. We weaken our witness when we fail in it.
As always, we have the example and the power of Christ when we choose him in the moment of trial:
When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. (1 Peter:2:23)
When we “do everything without grumbling or questioning,” as one translation puts it, trusting more and more, identifying with Christ and prayerfully offering our sufferings to him, we do it for this reason:
that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world.
I want to shine like that. I want us all to shine.