Posts Tagged ‘grumbling’

Modesty is a word that, in Christian circles, usually refers to the hot topic of dress codes.  Should women wear swimsuits in public?  What is appropriate for church?  For everyday?  Is only the motive important, or is there an absolute line that should be drawn: you can see this much skin and no further, this much shape and no more? 

But modesty originally had more to do with attitude than appearance.  The word is often applied to what we wear, which is a good use for the term.  But have you not heard someone responding to a denied compliment: “Don’t be so modest!”  In this sense, modesty is a synonym for humility.  We get an idea of not praising oneself.  Do not desire the praise of men, but certainly don’t praise yourself before men.  Let your own works praise you in the gates…

Attention is a big theme of modesty.  Are you demanding attention?  It is not modest to dress so provocatively that others must notice you.  Nor is it modest to talk often of yourself, whether what you tell is good or bad, true or false.  To be modest is not the same as being shy.  Modest people do not need to hide in the shadows or refuse compliments.  They are gracious and grateful, cheerful and others-centered. 

Today I am convicted by a different form of modesty that I had never considered.  Complaining.  First of all, the Bible specifically condemns grumbling, so that should be sufficient reason not to do it.  Secondly, being around complaining people is unpleasant.  And it brings me down.  Focusing on the bad is the opposite of thankfulness and contentment.  Speaking about it is the opposite of modesty. 

Frustrated with my displays of discontent recently, I examined what was driving me to complain.  And I realized that I complain for something to say and so that people will listen to me and notice me and be forced into my concerns. Complaining is different from asking for help.  My whining at times has been a plea for help, but too proud to be expressed.  There is a short road, then, from the attention-grabbing complaint to pride and bitterness and being quite rude to people. 

Love is not rude.  It is not self-seeking or puffed up.  Love is modest.  I am called to love my neighbor.  I serve a God jealous for glory, who resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.  Grace is something I could use a lot of.

In order to pursue God’s glory and loving my neighbors, I am going to:

  • Get someone to smack me when I complain. 
  • Practice asking for help.
  • Ask questions about other peoples’ lives rather than ranting about my own.
  • Practice thankfulness.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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