When Daniel Webster wanted to give a person the impression that he remembered him, but could not recall his name or where they had met before, he would ask, “Well, how is the old complaint?” And nine times out of ten this worked. The person would begin to unfold some grievance that he had discussed with Mr. Webster on a former occasion, and thereby identify himself.
It’s startling just how powerful a role complaints play in everyday life. It’s equally remarkable that immediately after being rescued from Pharaoh, and their thirst in the desert the children of God once again find a reason to complain.
What about us, are we cursed with a complaining spirit, or are we careful to make certain that the content of our speech is building up rather than tearing down.
Herbert Vander Lugt reports on a recent medical survey which seems to suggest that chronic complainers live longer than people who are always sweet and serene. It claims that their cantankerous spirit gives them a purpose for living. Each morning they get up with a fresh challenge to see how many things they can find to grumble about, and they derive great satisfaction from making others miserable. Now I certainly question whether those who complain actually do outlive those who don’t. Maybe it just seems that way to everybody around them, however, if it is a purpose we need then we certainly could live to pass along praise and encouragement and make this old world a little better place.