instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, August 27, 2010

No double rewards

In a comment on a post below, Pauli writes:
There's no reason that I know about which would prevent someone from BOTH blogging complaints about the world AND offering up their trials. Even the saints and spiritual writers complained, but without losing their peace.
You can do both, but not at the same time with the same thing. To the extent you complain about something, you can't offer it up. To complain about something is to share it with others, and you can't give to God what you're already sharing with others.

To put it another way: If I offer up some minor trial, I hand it over to God to draw some good from it. If I complain about that same minor trial, then I am seeking a reward for having endured it from someone other than God. It's akin to blowing a trumpet before me when I give alms. Better to get my reward for enduring a trial from God than from man.

To put it another way: Complaining about it reduces the value of a trial. A complained-over trial is worth less as an offering than a non-complained-over trial. To complain over a trial is to use it; to offer up a complained-over trial is to offer up a used trial.

This is not to suggest you may not or should not ever complain, nor even that you may not or should not ever offer up a trial you complain about. Before complaining, though, the prudent Christian considers whether Providence permitted his trial so that he would complain about it.