Stop Your Whining!

Whining has made a comeback. There’s even a Whiner’s Anonymous group. Members of it are called “whineaholics”. They have a Whiner’s Annonymous Help (WAH!) 12-Step program. Evidently, some people– Correction! A lot of people– have a problem with whining and its twin cousin “complaining”.

Maybe it’s because we’ve become less tied into agriculture. I don’t remember my farming grandfather ever whining about all the work he had to do. Rising early each morning to milk the cows, feed the chickens, plant the corn, pick the corn, and whatever else needed to be done, he didn’t have any time to whine. Whining never got anything done for him. There was order and expectations in his farming mindset. In fact, one time when I showed up with my hair actually touching my ears, he asked me why my hair was so long? My response that it was the style and that “Everybody was doing it!”, was met with the response, “If everybody starts wearing girdles, are you going to wear one, too?”

At that point in my life I may have responded “Yes”, but I kept quiet, although I thought about whining.

Back to the pouting point! The price of gas has flooded the whining ranks. It, however, has not lessened the number of cars on the roadways. People look at the gas pump and have a whine-fest about “$4.99 for regular!” I can hear my grandfather’s voice. “Well, if everybody does it, do you have to do it?” In other words, was it necessary for you to make that road trip to that game and pay an arm and a leg for the tickets, go to the store three times today, and pull that fifth-wheel two hundred miles to a campground?

There’s whining because something is out of our control, like the feelings of isolation caused by the pandemic, and then there’s whining because we’re just addicted to being whiners. Whining has become a characteristic of our culture. Sometimes we have become confused on what is a just cause and what is just whining. Like the McDonald’s drive-thru customer who kept whining about a flavored drink (I think flavored coffee), and wanted it redone, and redone, and redone. The manager, taking on my grandfather’s personality, finally told him they were done with him. Find another place to get your coffee.

Whining is “entitlement turned-down”. Jesus was an advocate for treating people fairly, respecting everyone, and seeing the value in each person even when their society said they were worthless. His hearing was alert to pleading, but he reacted to the whiners of His time. Specifically, the Pharisees and teachers of the Law who came to Him complaining about the non-observance of their traditions. They usually began their whine with the words, “Why do…?” Jesus never crumbled to a whine, but he cried in response to pleading. When He came upon someone who the culture treated as an outcast, he righted the wrong.

So let’s get over our pouting, complaining, and whining attitudes. I like Step 5 in the Whiners Annonymous Help 12-Step program. Here it is with the attached scenario to put things into perspective:

5. Step out of your shoes.

Put your whine in perspective. There’s a woman in Africa living in a mud hut with a grass roof and NO indoor plumbing. She lives off of $27 a year. She is totally blind and collects sticks for firewood, hoping the next stick isn’t a snake. Now, what was your whine again?

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