“Don’t complain that you are not getting what you want. Just be glad you are not getting what you deserve!”
“I don’t have enough time in my day. Seems like interruptions are constantly happening and I can’t get anything done. I’m not sleeping well, my body daily discovers new aches, my balance and flexibility are decreasing and I think and move in slow motion. Nebraska winters are always so bone chilling with not enough sunlight to keep my vitamin D levels up.” Yada, yada, yada. The list of griping and complaining can go on and on and on.
Complaining, like high blood pressure is insidious. It’s subtle, yet with possible deadly results. It’s so common we’ve become desensitized to it. To complain is to murmur; to find fault; to express discontent. The One we’re ultimately expressing dissatisfaction with is God. Telling God we don’t like something is rebellion against what He’s provided for us.
Man has always wanted what they can’t have and when they don’t have it, they complain. When the Israelites tired of their daily provision of manna, they complained about it. They even wailed, “If only we had meat to eat!” They began to long for the variety of food they ate in Egypt, so much so they wanted to return. The Israelites’ conveniently forgot about the conditions of slavery they experienced in Egypt and more importantly the miracles God had faithfully displayed on their behalf.
In Numbers 11 God heard the Israelites’ grumbling and He didn’t like it. In fact, God got angry. When God listens to me complain, I can only assume it angers Him. He takes it as a personal offense; a form of disloyalty.
Complaining kills our relationship first and foremost with God. In essence you’re saying to Him, “I don’t like how this is. You made a mistake.” Complaining challenges God’s goodness. Murmuring or having a negative attitude can also kill your relationship with family and friends. No one likes to be around people who have a negative take on life. It brings everyone else down around them.
In Philippians 2:14-15, we’re encouraged to do ALL things without grumbling or complaining so that we stand out in the world and shine like stars. If you want to be different from your co-workers, friends and family, simply don’t complain. They will take notice that you’re not like them.
The antidote to complaining is being grateful. The Word of God instructs us to be thankful in all things and for all things. (I Thess. 5:18, Eph. 5:20) Just recently God has encouraged me to thank Him when I’m having what I call a “personal summer.” Instead of focusing on “poor me” and complaining about the discomfort, I’ve started to thank Him for the opportunity to depend upon Him for His grace, knowing my intimacy with Him is deepening.
Complaining stems from pride, while gratefulness stems from humility. Complaining leads you into the wilderness, while gratefulness takes you into the Promise Land. Complaining says, “God, I’m not satisfied,” while gratefulness tells God He’s enough and all that He does and provides is satisfactory. Complaining is forgetting what God has done for you, while gratefulness remembers. Complaining is rejecting God’s gracious gifts, while gratefulness gladly accepts them.
Try a little experiment this week. First, listen to yourself. Is complaining a habit for you? Secondly, when you’re tempted to complain replace it with gratefulness. Lastly, thank God frequently throughout the day, especially for the little things we tend to take for granted. Begin to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. You’ll be glad you did as contentment will begin to well up within your heart.
We’ve heard people say, “I can’t complain.” Let’s be women who say, “I won’t complain,” and shine like stars to all those around us.
“The apprehension of this blessed truth, (God’s faithfulness), will check our murmurings. The Lord knows what is best for each of us, and one effect or resting on this truth will be the silencing of our petulant complainings. God is greatly honored, when, under trial and chastening, we have good thoughts of Him, vindicate His wisdom and justice, and recognize His love in His very rebukes!”
Arthur W. Pink
1. What areas are you most tempted to complain?
2. Replace your complaining with gratefulness.