Compliments & Complaints

Why is it so much harder for people to give compliments than it is for them to complain? I have a very hard time with this concept – and, quite frankly, it makes me angry most of the time. And the saddest part? I often see it the most when it comes to church people. The people that are supposed to be slow to anger and quick to love often seem to get it backward – they are slow to love and quick to anger – and quicker to complain about things they don’t like.

It’s exhausting and it’s something I deal with on a weekly basis. And, because I know how much it frustrates other people, I keep some of those complaints – especially the horribly rude and almost cruel ones – to myself. Which may not be healthy and may not even be right, I admit, but it’s what I do. Why burden the people I care about with more complaints about the same old things all the time? Why make them angry when I can prevent it (even though I know their anger isn’t toward me)?

It may be hypocritical for me to complain about people complaining. I can’t put my finger around that concept – but it’s more hypocritcal (at least to me) to put on your church face and pretend to be all nice and caring, then write anonymous notes, letters, and complaints. I know people are not for me to judge and I know if I KNEW who some of these people are, I would be astounded at their reactions to things that don’t matter in the long run, but as it is, I am just really annoyed at the whole thing.

Right now my struggle is with how to handle the complainers, because if I’m honest, I’m running really low on grace and patience toward them today.

I just wish, instead of people whining and complaining and being negative, they would take the time to see how much love, heart, and work goes into things. Instead of hating change, they would realize that the world is constantly changing. Instead of complaining about things just because it’s in THEIR church, I wish they would see how new ideas can impact GOD’s church.

And, honestly, I wish they would spend less time worrying about the stupid stuff and more time worrying about things that actually matter to more than just them, their friends, and those that hate to see anything new or different in the church.

Today, I’m tired of it.

Tomorrow, who knows?


  1. Oh, how well I understand. I feel your pain on this matter. The only thing that has helped me is to remember that we are all broken people, and that often there is something much deeper to the complaint than we know. It makes me feel pity instead of anger.

  2. It is incredibly disheartening to hear the complaints when people don’t know the hearts behind things, the work that goes into things, the hours, the sacrifices, etc. Scott handles it all MUCH better than I do. He, like Amy, says he just feels sorry for them. I, however, want to step on them. :)It is very giving and sacrificial of you to keep a lot of that stuff to yourself. I know that must be hard. My belief is that anything that is anonymous should immediately be filed in the trashcan without being read. 🙂

  3. Yup, I too would want to step on them. I think Cindy and I are alike in a lot of ways! Anyway, I think you handle it with much more grace and maturity than I could. And I totally agree, if they are upset about something enough to write a nasty little note, why be anonymous? To be honest, that seems a little cowardly to me. I’m all about calling it like it is and if you have a problem, say it with guts. Otherwise it must not be that big of a deal.

  4. preach it sista!! you get ’em Emily! You already know my thoughts on this one…someone, who shall remain nameless, needs to hold their flock to a higher standard than this. maybe i’m wrong, but maybe i’m right. all i know is that the average person who walks through the door on sunday morning has no idea how often we have to deal with ‘the anonymous complainer.’ my personal opinion is that this is one of the main reasons people like us get burnt out. i know it’s not Christ-like to say, but why serve when the only feedback you receive is a negative complaint. i do truly understand why all of us serve and do believe if just one person in bloomington is one day saved, then all the complaints are more than worth it. it’s just good to vent about them every now and then…’cause they get to you if you don’t. someone once told me to work on my think skin and i will go a long way in ministry. i think that might be the worst advice i’ve ever received. i hope i never get the kind of skin that something like this has no affect on me…seeing a Christian reacting with such spiritual immaturity should always get to all of us.

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