The Art of Complaining

Complain (Dictionary): Express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event; state that one is suffering from (a pain or other symptom of illness); state a grievance.
Complain (Bible): To muse, complain, talk (of), bitter, bitterness, to murmur, growl, roar, be boisterous, have, hold, possess.

As I was researching the “art of complaining” I was somewhat surprised on ten number books on this subject. I even found one entitled “A Guide to Living Life Instead of Complaining About It.” People like to complain (or vent) so their viewpoint is heard. Anytime there is an election, the complaints appear in great numbers. Just look at the recent election. My goodness!

People love to complain and can complain about anything. Real life examples:

  • “On my holiday to India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food at all.”
  • A guest at a Novotel in Australia complained that his soup was too thick. He was inadvertently slurping gravy.
  • Following a trip to a national theme park, one angry woman complained that the sun was so hot it melted her ice cream.
  • An air traveler voiced her disapproval of all the clouds in the sky, saying they ruined her children’s game of Eye Spy.

The above complaints are silly but unfortunately reflect people’s hearts. We can complain about people or complain about things in our lives or even things we have done. But, what does the Bible say?

Colossians 3:12-15:  12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.   Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. (NASB)

James 5:9: Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. (NASB)

1 Peter 4:9:  Be hospitable to one another without complaint. (NASB)

What the word shows us, as Christians, is that there is the need to forgive each other and to stop complaining about what others are doing. If someone has a complaint about another, it must be settled face to face. Jesus was very clear on this:

Matthew 5:23-24: 22 But I have added to that rule and tell you that if you are only angry, even in your own home, you are in danger of judgment! If you call your friend an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse him, you are in danger of the fires of hell.23 So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and suddenly remember that a friend has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there beside the altar and go and apologize and be reconciled to him, and then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” (TLB)

Most people remember how Moses sister and brother complained about Moses authority and how God reacted to their complaints: 

Numbers 12:1-2:  12Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); and they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?” And the Lord heard it. (NASB)

In the end, the Lord brought a judgement against Miriam. The Scriptures clearly state that we are to pray for the leadership God has established over us and not complain! Questioning those in authority over us and complaining about that authority is not a good place to be spiritually!

2 Timothy 2:1-4:  1First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignityThis is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (NASB) 

So, we see that we can complain in many ways including against each other and our leaders. Complaining can easily be seen as a lack of trust in Father God! Either we trust in Him to lead us or we don’t. A habit of complaining can bring forth a hardening of our spirit which removes peace and joy.

So, let us continually examine ourselves in light of what the Scriptures say. I know I have been guilty of complaining more than once. The real question is-what message does this send to others and especially to our Lord? For one thing, if we are a chronic complainer, we are most likely complaining and not praying! We can even leave God out of the picture by using our words of complaint!

A quote from Alistair Begg had a wonderful yet simple message: “Christianity is not about how to escape from the difficulties of life – it is about how to face the difficulties of life.”

Let us be set free from any feelings of complaining and begin blessing and praying to God for the answers! Remember 2 Corinthians 10:3-6! 

Our Father God, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen.

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