Let’s be honest. There are plenty of ills in the world that can cause us grief. Many of these ills should grieve us.
- Starving, malnourished children in the richest country in the world
- Sex trafficking in the local community
- Child abuse or neglect in neighborhood homes
- The destructiveness of pornography in one’s family
- Extremists who twist religious beliefs into life-taking deeds in the land of the free and the home of the brave
These are examples of things that when we choose to talk about them we do so because we are grieved.
It’s troubling, however, to hear recurring, ongoing conversations that express the same weight of grief over lesser important things. They are not really ills at all. They are more about what we want or expect at a much lower level of societal importance, mostly because of a personal, emotional connection. And the amount of time given to complain about these things makes listeners stop and ask, “Really?”
- Whether THAT coworker gets preferential treatment
- Whether THAT team deflated those footballs
- Whether THAT HOA can…
- Whether THAT athlete deserves the hall of fame
- Whether THAT family member should have done what they did
Let’s be honest. There’s a whole bunch of whining going on. Too much.
To be clear about what constitutes whining, here are a few defintions:
- Whine: to complain in a petty or feeble way
- Petty: unimportant, trivial, small-minded
- Feeble: weak, without strength, force or effectiveness
If you’ve ever privately questioned if you’ve crossed the venting or complaining line and entered into full-blown whining, most likely the answer is yes. If you are obsessed with some petty issue and continue to stew over it, most likely the answer is yes. If your complaint is legit but you are completely powerless to do anything about it, most likely you have entered whine world. But to help you determine if you are engulfed by whining, ask yourself these three questions:
How long have I been voicing this same complaint?
- If it has been months or even years that you have harped on this same topic, consider yourself a whiner. Your issue may be very legit; but if you have not acted on it to impact change, the feebleness of your complaint constitutes a whine.
Does what I’m complaining about have a solution within my power to achieve?
- Most likely the issue has a solution. But not all issues we complain about are within our power to control, solve, or turn around. In those cases, the complaint has little force or strength. It is nothing more than a powerless whine.
If so, does this conversation have a solution-based drive?
- In the case where a complainer does have the opportunity to bring about a solution, then that should be the drive of the conversation. If that drive is missing, the complaint is a very feeble whine.
Let’s be honest. We are all tempted to whine.
Let’s be honest. We can do better.
Let’s be honest. God grieves but doesn’t whine. We should consider our choices.