I was inspired recently by an article entitled, “30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 3,” found on the excellent blog, Adventures of Lexie to look back to an older article of my own that addresses her quite justifiable complaint of people who “have a tendency to chronically complain about everything in life, and seem to always blame the world when things go wrong in their lives and never themselves.” Her modus operandi in dealing with such folks is certainly admirable. She remarks, “I just try to build them up and boost their confidence if I can, to maybe try and help them stop complaining a bit.” This displays an exemplary combination of the virtues of mercy, sympathy, and charity. Sometimes, however, I’m afraid one simply must walk away…
It is a universal law from time immemorial that, with very rare exception, if one possesses the mental acumen and ability to apprehend the wrong and the negative, then one also necessarily possesses the same acumen and ability to apprehend the right and the positive. If someone can carp and criticize, then the same someone can also compliment and comfort. Likewise, if someone can grumble and protest, then the same someone can show gratitude and praise.
This being so, when we discover someone, as sometimes happens, who seems intent on singing only dirges, wailing by the wayside, and snuffing out all light, then prudence dictates we distance ourselves for our own sake, perhaps even for the sake of our very souls (and surely for our sanity.) No degree of love and concern will aid the individual who adamantly refuses to do what is within their power to help themselves; it may very well be, then, that by continued association we will only succeed in harming ourselves without helping them in the least.
Wise company brings wisdom; fool he ends that fool befriends.
– Proverbs of Solomon 13.20, Knox Bible (Translation of Msgr. Ronald Knox)
How long should you strive and how much effort expend plugging holes in a sinking ship when the lifeboat awaits to carry you to some safe harbor of peace and tranquility?
– J D N, Personal Thoughts