Complaining Leads to Loss
Complain! Complain! Complain! That is what so many people in our culture do on a regular basis. I hear it all the time in so many venues. The government is interfering too much or is not doing enough. Neighborhood websites constantly stir up its members about this issue and that issue. Many times these are petty, but oh how we think they are the worst thing that has happened to us.
The worst is when I see it in Christians and especially in me. I see it in political and social discourse and I see it in such trivial things as why can’t the store open up more checkout stands. You know waiting an extra five minutes is going to actually kill me.
Complain! Complain! Complain! We are upset about so many things and believe me, when my day gets interrupted you think that I lost my wife or my health.
Not surprisingly, the Bible has a lot to say on this subject. For openers we have the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-41. These two ladies are sisters and Jesus has been welcomed into their home as he was journeying toward Jerusalem.
While there, Jesus begins a teaching session whereupon Mary sits at his feet listening. But Martha comes out of the kitchen upset at Jesus and says how unfair that her sister is listening to Him and not helping her. Jesus then lovingly tells her that she is bothered by the details of life instead of focusing on the most important, which is being with Him.
So here is the frightening part: complaining and criticizing causes you to miss what God is doing when He is right in front of you. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.
Another Biblical story is the children of Israel journey from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. Most of you know the story of how on their travels that these Israelites complain and criticize over and over again. The culmination of their complaining has them not entering Canaan as God planned, but to wander for forty years in the wilderness as a punishment.
This is how the Scriptures describe it in Numbers 14:26-33. “Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘How long will this wicked nation complain about me? I have heard everything the Israelites have been saying. Now tell them this: As surely as I live, I will do to you the very things I heard you say. I, the Lord, have spoken! You will all die here in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, none of you who are twenty years old or older and counted in the census will enter the land I swore to give you…. You said your children would be taken captive. Well, I will bring them safely into the land, and they will enjoy what you have despised. But as for you, your dead bodies will fall in this wilderness. And your children will be like shepherds, wandering the wilderness forty years.’”
Complaining leads to loss! The children of Israel were on the verge of claiming their inheritance, but because of complaining everyone twenty and older was going to miss out.
So does this mean we can never express a negative thought as Christians? Of course not! All you have to do is read many of the Psalms to see how the writers expressed their complaints. But the difference was they were struggling with what God was doing, not complaining about God’s goodness. In fact the Psalmists knew that God was good and so they couldn’t understand why He wasn’t rising up and helping them. The Israelites in the wilderness and Martha had the wrong attitude towards God. Fundamentally they were questioning God’s intentions and character.
We all know the difference between someone having a bad day and someone who regularly complains about everything: the weather, family, health, their job. It is wearisome to be around people like that. Complain! Complain! Complain!
If you see yourself as a constant complainer, STOP!! If you don’t know if you are one, then please ask trusted family and friends. If they lovingly tell you that you are, then get help.
For us Christians, we serve a God that can do anything. He always has our best interests at heart, so why in the world would we on a regular basis complain to Him about our lives?
I know that some of you are thinking that my life is like Job. I hear you! Going through something of that magnitude is horrific. But what we forget is that everything turns out well for Job. God restores more than what he had originally. So even in a worst case scenario, the Lord shows his love and concern.
So we all have a choice. We can be a chronic complainer or a faith follower. We can say that we serve a good God or say that He is always against us.
Complain! Complain! Complain? How about Trust, Trust, Trust! One leads to loss and one leads to peace and blessing. You decide!