Recently, my husband and I were enjoying lunch at Chili’s with our daughter Maddie. I was wearing my “Gripes Be Gone” bracelet which I created in my “Married to Me” study. These highly sophisticated pieces of elastic string containing three beads symbolize my husband and me with God in the center. Each time I complained, whined or griped, I snapped the bracelet against my wrist, a stinging reminder of my lack of self-control. Our waitress’ chatter was a little over the top. After making a cutting remark to Tony about it, I looked down at my bracelet and snapped it.
Tony asked, “What’s that?” Reluctantly, I explained my lovely new jewelry piece. He laughed knowing the impossibility of this device to take captive my complaints. He asked to borrow my bracelet. Wrapping it around 3 fingers, he stated, “This booth has a really bad odor,” and snapped it. I laughed. Whether Tony was attempting to identify with my dilemma or poke fun, the reality is that a bracelet isn’t capable of delivering me from caustic complaining.
Many of us have developed bad habits that have been deemed acceptable among Christian women. We gripe about our husbands, our children, our jobs and our busyness. We complain about slow service, critique sermons and criticize a person’s clothes or imperfect parenting. Philippians 2:14-15 states, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure…”
That little word, “everything,” is tripping me up, how about you?! God wants me to use my words to bless, to encourage, to lift up others. James 3:10-11 says, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My (sisters), this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” If we are to be a blessing to others in our homes and our community, we must use our words wisely. We have a choice: we can shut our mouths when we don’t have anything good to say or snap bracelets leaving marks on our wrists and in other’s hearts. Let’s be different than the culture in which we live!