A Thanksgiving Memory

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Exhausted, I sat down to the meal. It was the holiday and I’d been preparing this dinner for days now. As my eyes scanned the table, I sensed tension as thick as the slices of turkey on the platter.


Of course, it couldn’t be my fault.


I’d kept my mouth shut when he had lifted no finger to help.

I’d kept my mouth shut when he asked how much longer till we ate.

I’d kept my mouth shut when he began grazing on items before the Thanksgiving prayer.


“After all”, I thought smugly, “I, for one, was going to be someone who did all things without grumbling and complaining” (Philippians 2:14).


But as I fell into bed that evening, that very verse kept spinning in my mind. Somehow I didn’t feel that my actions had captured it’s essence. Was there something I had missed? Something that I hadn’t embraced behind the meaning of the words? In the quiet of the midnight, the truth of the original language spoke gently.
“Goggysmos” (grumbling) literally means “a secret displeasure, not openly avowed.” Evidently, I knew how to grumble all too well — mumbled muttering I whispered to myself in secret. Oh, I wouldn’t say most of them out loud. But, under my breath, I had some great comebacks. Working out my salvation with fear and trembling meant even these silent murmurings had to stop (Philippians 2:12).


“Dialogismos” (complaining) is a noun depicting “the thinking of a man deliberating with himself; the questioning about what is true.” Questionings. Doubtings. How often I’d mulled over these very thoughts — smug sentiments comparing my own competence with someone else’s sad insufficiency. “I can’t believe she’d do it that way” or “It’s doubt they even know how to do it correctly.”


As the Spirit’s nudged me toward truth, I realized that both “grumbling” and “complaining” point to attitudes of the heart, not merely words off the tongue. Truth isn’t a Thumper mantra (“if you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all”). Instead, our Father reveals that “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matthew 12:34).


My problem is much deeper than whether or not I speak what I am thinking. To truly prove myself a child of God “above reproach”, my thought life must change. I am to set my mind on things above instead of the dark, critical places of my own preferences (Colossians 3:2). My thoughts are to dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute”, whatever is excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).


What would my holiday look like if I truly followed this train of thought?


I’m not sure. But, I’m determined to find out. Wanna join me?