There is a choice for each of us every day. We can complain about the way things are, gossip about those who have made things they way they are, or we can simply deal with the way things are and try to make them better. One is unproductive, the other has the chance to move things forward.

I’ve been around enough teams to know that some players and parents just enjoy stirring things up. They complain about the coaches, weather, fans, facilities, whatever. They are negative, even if the team is doing well. Instead of simply dealing with the way things are, which requires actually doing something productive about it, they stand on the side and complain, which actually requires nothing from them.

There are times when analyzing problems and their causes is helpful. But, we must be careful that we don’t allow our analysis to lead us to being negative and counterproductive.

Here’s something from Proverbs 26:20-21 that speaks to this: “Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down. As charcoal for embers and wood for fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife” (HCSB).

The wise person is willing to let things die that aren’t helpful and productive, like gossip and arguments. Instead, he looks for ways to address the issues in a helpful manner. He’s the player who refuses to complain about the coach, but instead takes the “man” approach and goes directly to the coach with his issues.

What the complainer and gossip doesn’t realize is what comes in the verse 22: “A gossip’s words are like choice food that goes down to one’s innermost being” (HCSB). He may think he is doing good, but it will infect everything about him, from the inside out.

Those who walk with Jesus daily have within them the power to overcome negative and destructive attitudes and behaviors. But only Jesus has defeated our sin by His death and resurrection; therefore, only He can enable you and I to live new lives, free from things that infect us from the inside out.

Here’s a prayer if you relate:

Dear Lord Jesus, show me any area or issue that I keep stirring up. I confess my sin of being negative and destructive. By the power of your death and resurrection, make me new, and enable me to let things die and instead be a useful tool in your hands for accomplishing your will in my home, my school, my job, my team, wherever you take me. Amen.