A Hard Pill to Swallow

hard pill to swallowRecently, I have repeatedly read through the book of Philippians. As I’ve done that, a particular verse keeps grabbing my attention. “Do all things without grumbling or questioning.” (Philippians 2:14)

That’s a loaded statement, isn’t it?

Paul doesn’t say that we should do some things – or even a lot of things – without grumbling or questioning. No, he says, “all things.” All. Things.

We know there were slaves in Philippi at this time – Paul cast a demon out of a slave-girl in Philippi – (Acts 16), and that Paul addressed the whole church in an area when he wrote. So it is likely that there were slaves in the Philippian congregation who heard these words. “All things without grumbling or questioning.” That could be a hard pill to swallow.

We also know that Paul wasn’t speaking theoretically. It was in Philippi where he and Silas were thrown into jail. But that was also the same place where they sang praises to God while in that jail cell. “All things without grumbling or questioning.” Paul wasn’t asking the Philippians to do something he didn’t practice himself.

And let me add that the word translated as “questioning” is not simply an innocent query. Other translations use words like “arguing” and “disputing.” This is clearly a strong word that has implications beyond simply asking a question.

So, in all things, we shouldn’t grumble or complain or argue. Don’t kick sand in people’s faces. Don’t dispute. Don’t argue.

All of this makes even more sense when you consider that immediately after this verse, Paul goes on to say, “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15)

Do you want to shine in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation? Do all things without grumbling or questioning.

I’ll be the first to admit that, from my perspective, this is much easier said than done. What are your thoughts?

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