You know, we are nearing the time of year set aside for giving thanks and sharing the love. While it is just terrific that there is a time designated for our nation’s collective thanks and good will, we should really be thankful and loving 24/7, 365. I don’t mean buying a mug with grateful on it or starting to use the latest slogans for doing good and loving your neighbor. I mean we should all make thankfulness and loving others an immovable part of our lives. For human beings however, this is easier said than done; its ones of those negatives that seems to always come with the human nature package. Thank God for Jesus, right!?
As believers in Christ we are to live in accordance with our new nature…you know, all things are new, old things are passed away (2 Cor 5:17). What we must understand is that we have to allow ourselves to be transformed. It is our choice to remain ungrateful, unloving (according to 1Cor 13) etc…, or we can choose to walk in our God given newness of life – no matter how much it may torture our flesh 😉 One of the things we need to work on is complaining. It is one of those negatives that automatically come with human nature.
Complaining is one those things that just slips out without premeditation. We complain our food is too hot, we complain if it’s too cold. We complain it’s too hot outside, we complain it’s too cold. We complain when we have money, complain when we don’t. We complain about things that are our business and we really complain about things that are none of our business. We complain when we are up, we complain when we are down. We complain Fill in the blank.
We complain to vent, to gain sympathy, to find someone to cosign our protest and sometimes even to nurse pain that we don’t want to turn loose. The truth is that complaining is not good, it can be detrimental both naturally/spiritually and God really does not like it. I’m not talking about those complaints of “ouch” when we stub a toe or bump into something hard. I’m talking about that mindless complaining that reveals ungratefulness and a lack of love for others. It is this unproductive complaining that will get us into trouble with the Almighty God.
A prime example of God’s dislike of and anger towards complaining is seen in the history of the children of Israel. They had been divinely delivered from the hands of their oppressor in Egypt. They were divinely led to the Promised Land. Their clothing and shoes did not wear out. They were fed with the food of angels by the very hand of God. What did they do? They complained.
The ancient Hebrews were always complaining about something. They quickly forgot where God had brought them from. They quickly forgot the hardships, of their not too distant past, that had them crying out to God for help. They forgot that their God heard them and performed the magnificent deliverance they could not bring about for themselves. They were too busy complaining to see how blessed they were. Not only that, but their complaining was destructive.
It is obvious from their complaining that there was an issue with their hearts and minds (Luke 6:45). Their hearts and minds were filled with ingratitude. They were selfish, self-centered beings whom even God could not please. Because they maintained the heart and mind of a complainer, it led them to sin. It also proved them to be fools as they traded the living, all powerful God, for a statue made of hands. Their complaining hearts led to repeated sin and disobedience kindling the anger of God against them (Numbers 11). Their complaining pushed Moses over the edge, and – because of frustration induced disobedience – He could not enter the Promised Land. Their complaining ways became a stumbling block to their fellowman! Now we can look at them and think they were just foolish, ungrateful wretches; however, we must then answer the question of whether or not we are any different.
When, where, why do we complain the most? Are we complaining because we want steak for dinner but only have chicken? Are we complaining because we can’t have our way? Are we, like those ancient Hebrews, lamenting the crumbs of our past and failing to be thankful of our much better present? If our family and friends were to tell the truth about us, would they say that – for us- nothing is ever good enough?? How do we make the people around us feel with our complaints? What would God say? Does He view us as hard to please? How do you think God felt with the children of Israel’s complaining? How would you feel if, after doing all you could, your loved ones were still filled with continuous ingratitude?
Ah complaining. Don’t ya just wanna kick it out of your life for good? I know I do. Complaining is a habit that we didn’t even have to make! We were born knowing how and when to use this weapon of destruction. The good thing about complaining, however, is that the steps to get rid of it are easy. It might not be easy to the flesh to break this habit, but we don’t have to jump through hoops to change.
I challenge you to break the habit of complaining. It is soooo worth it!
Until next time,
Let’s hear some chatter out there 😀
What are your thoughts on complaining?
Have you been able to break the habit of complaining?
How did you do it?
What are some other steps we can take to break free complaining?