Hey complainer…..

I don’t like what the barista gave me. I just want people around me to think. You talk way to loud. Why can’t I have what you have. I just want my life to be like yours. I know more about __________ than you.

These are things that people have said to me before. I have more complaints that people have said but some would get upset if I wrote them out with language that was used. The truth is that I complain sometimes. So that we are working off of the same definition let me define what it means to complain. To complain means that you are verbalizing dissatisfaction with a situation. Complaining is usually what hipocritical people do when something displeases them. They would rather use a verbal indication to express their displeasure of a certain thing, rather than taking a stand and doing something about it. Let’s take a look and see what does the Bible says about complaining?

As believers we are challenged not to grumble or complain (Philippians 2:14-15; 1 Peter 4:9); rather, we are to love one another deeply so that we may become “blameless and pure” in God’s eyes. If we grumble and complain, it shows how worldly we still are (James 4:1-3). A complaining spirit leads to fighting and because complaints come from unfulfilled desires they lead to envy and more fighting. Was that not at the root of the problem with the sons of Israel, when they chose to dispose of their brother Joseph, because of his dream (Genesis 37:3)?

Let’s looks at three short passages about complaining.

James 5:9

“Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.”

Writing to the persecuted church, James is addressing the importance of not taking out one’s frustrations and complaints on those in the church. Earlier in the letter, James talks about the destructive power of speech (James 3:2-12). Now he tells his readers that “the Judge is standing at the door”—the Lord Jesus will soon return—so they should not grumble against one another. Grumbling will only bring about God’s discipline if we are followers of Jesus. Plus, by grumbling we do not right the wrongs of this world. The Judge of all will make things right.

Ephesians 4:29

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

In Paul’s discussion about the changed life of a Christian, he addresses our speech. We are not to have “corrupting talk” come from our mouths. The Greek word speaks of rotting, decaying speech—any sort of grumbling, deception, obscenity, gossip, flattery, cynicism, slander, patronizing speech, degrading sarcasm, or mockery. Instead our speech should be “good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Our words should encourage, build confidence, comfort, instruct, and when necessary, correct each other.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

These three short verses communicate three punctual statements about God’s will for our lives. Instead of grumbling or complaining, we should be mindful of why we should be joyful, we should take our needs to the Lord, and we should be filled with gratitude. These verses offer great incentive against complaining by offering a vivid contrast: Why be filled with bitterness or a bad attitude when God’s will for us is thankfulness, prayerfulness, and joy?

During this season of thanksgiving let’s think about changes we can make to be an encourager instead of a complainer. Encouraging someone instead of beating someone up with complaints is much more valuable. We aren’t perfect so lets focus on us before we point out someone else’s flaws. Plus, no one likes to be around a complainer.

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