Friday, December 6, 2013

Vindication Doesn't Last

As a young teen, I'd take immense satisfaction in listening to mom scold my sister for fighting with me. Sometimes, Mom went so far as to declare that  I was right. Let me tell you, I'd absolutely bask in the feeling of vindication! Alas, Mom always cut my basking short by turning to me, with her frown of disapproval still in place, to utter the dreaded phrase: "And as for you, young lady..."

As I transition from yesterday's blog post to today's, I chuckle a little as, like Mom addressing faults on both sides of those sibling rivalries between me and my sister, I  now intend to challenge the very people I defended yesterday.

I still stand by my conviction that those who chronically vent about their problems desperately need patience, understanding and compassion. Scripture demands as much:

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. ~~1 Thessalonians 5:14 (ESV)

Having said that, I'd like to speak from my own struggles with self-pity and venting. Besides enumerating my many woes (real and perceived) to anyone who would listen, I kept a journal for 14 years in which I'd frequently lament my lot in life. At long last, the Lord helped me realize that both these practices merely perpetuated my misery, to the point that my co-workers had to confront me for generating a negative atmosphere at the office.

Far from offering true ventilation, my habitual complaining kept me so focused on my problems and disappointments that I refused to see God's goodness to me. Essentially, the more I vented, the more I compounded my self-pity. Slowly, and with way too many failures to be obedient, I've turned away from  chronic venting, even refusing to keep a private journal.

Both those who offer unsolicited advice and those of us who wallow in our problems need to kneel before the cross in humility and repentance. Much like me and my sister in our early adolescent years, both camps of people need to own their error. At that point, Christians can work together for the Lord's glory.

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