Even though I’m a fairly good writer, I’m not the best typist. This is why I’m glad that there’s spell check. Even though it’s not always perfect (my first name is always flagged as incorrect), spellcheck catches most commonly misspelled English words. Once while working on a writing project, I did my usual spellcheck. And because I knew that spell check couldn’t catch everything, I did my routine once overlooking carefully at every word. Everything looked fine but one sentence looked strange. I had to read it aloud because it just didn’t seem right. I didn’t realize until I read it that it wasn’t the right word. The word was spelled right, but it had the wrong meaning.
What was the word? It was supposed to read compliant. The sentence emphasized the importance of being compliant but looked confusing. Instead of reading “compliant,” the computer read “complaint.” Both words look so much alike but have such different meanings. Complaint means to express grief, pain, or dissatisfaction. Compliant means to complete or perform what is due or, in other words, submission. What changes the meanings of both words? One simple letter: “I.” It was interesting to me how changing where the “I” was in both words dramatically changed their meanings.
In my life, I’ve had seasons where it appeared to have a great deal of things to complain about as I worked to overcome some frustrating challenges. Once in a three-day time period, I had no hot water (busted pipe), no electricity (windy weather), problems with my car (brake light switch) and major oral surgery. I have to admit that by the time I was waiting for the towing company to get my car, I was not at all excited or calling it a blessing from God. I was trying but couldn’t understand why so many terrible things in a short time period had happened. It was such a big shift from just a few days earlier when I enjoyed time with my family.
I remember an interesting peace came over me as thought about the choice I had to make as I sat waiting for the tow truck. Was I going to complain or was I going to be submissive and learn the lesson that God had? Philippians 2:14-15 encourages us to “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God….”
“I” (my ego) didn’t want to take my car and spend money, but I needed to get it fixed. And when I got it to the dealership, they were able to fix it within an hour. In addition, the service manager didn’t charge me for the repair, which was over $100. In the end, the pipe was fixed, the electricity came back on, and I considered the issue with the car a blessing. Plus, I got the most important benefit of moving the “I” to the right position of humility and trusting God wholeheartedly. I learned that the more I trust God and am compliant, the less likely I am to complain.