I told Ed, “As I look back on it now, my childhood was a solid education in developing my talents for grumbling, faultfinding and scoffing.”
Faultfinding came easily to me as a child; I blamed others, not my innocent self, for what happened to me. I learned blaming others was effortless, and it became a significant trait of my thinking throughout my life. I am not proud of it. It is not easy to discard an old habit. Old habits keep reappearing in our lives like an uninvited bout of hiccups.
It doesn't take any serious searching to find people at fault around us. This is because seeing what others do wrong can be apparent to us. For example, I was accused of leaving the toilet seat up. It was evident to my wife but not to me until it was brought to my attention. When you find fault with others, they may not appreciate your pointing out what they have done or failed to do. That is the sparky side of faultfinding.
My school years were a hotbed of practise and perfecting grumbling, faultfinding and scoffing. This column would be a work of fiction if I wrote that other students at school were not keen on grumbling, faultfinding and scoffing.
All three activities become more exciting and satisfying with friends. Grumbling about a teacher grows in intensity and power when it is a combined effort. For every fault you can find about your school, subjects, or other students, it’s just a start. The flaw you noted about another can be magnified and multiplied when collaborating with classmates.
We scoff or make fun of someone. At school, making fun of others, usually one or two at a time, happens regularly, but you only notice it when it happens to you.
Some dismiss the power of faultfinding, grumbling and scoffing as if they are no more of a consequence than sneezing. Usually, sneezing doesn't matter unless someone sneezes on you without covering their nose. Yes, there are worst things than getting sneezed on or coughed on, but not spit on. When we so quickly grumble, fault find or scoff at others, it is like spitting on them. There is no joy for the person spit on even by accident.
Often, we find fault with those that we know of on some common level. For example, when Jesus returned to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he was not recognized as a famous rabbi or prophet but as Joseph, the carpenter’s son.
It wasn't that Jesus hadn't spoken well at the synagogue; in fact, all there were amazed at his gracious words. They were not impressed by Jesus’ gracious words. His words made them skeptical. They asked scoffingly, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4: 22)
Jesus understood that no prophet is accepted in his hometown. (Luke 4:24) Jesus also understood the people of Nazareth wanted him to prove himself to them. As a physician should be able to heal himself, Jesus needed to do what they had heard Jesus had accomplished in Capernaum.
When the people began finding fault with Jesus, it escalated to his attempted murder. Blaming, faultfinding and scoffing are of the devil’s design. I need to break these habits. Do You? (Luke 4:28-30)