Are there specific people that you associate with the word “complaining?” Complaining does seem, at times, to be an integral part of some people’s personalities. As a public school principal, every staff I was a part of had its complainers. Whenever you saw one of these persons coming to your office, you knew they had a complaint about something. What stands out to me about this experience is that about 9 out of 10 complaints always came from the same people. To make it even more frustrating, probably 8 out of 10 complaints were about something that we had no power to change. There were also a small number of complaints that were useful and we did have the ability make some changes. The majority of useful complaints were, from my perspective, about evenly divided between habitual complainers and staff members who usually never complained.
What do we make of this? The majority of complaints were a waste of time because we did not have the power to remedy the complaint. Most of the time, the people who complained knew before hand there was nothing that could be done to “fix” the perceived problem. Yet, they still wanted to “vent” about it.
I will be the first to admit that sometimes I am so bothered by something that is beyond my control that I too will complain uselessly about it. This is not my habit all the time, but sometimes I have let my emotions get ahead of my brain. Have you ever experienced this?
God, generally, does not seem to be favorably disposed toward complaining. According to Paul we are to “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God. . . .” (Philippians 2:14-15) Complaining, we are told in the Bible, even arouses God’s anger and wrath. (Numbers 11) Someone once wrote that “Whines are the products of sour grapes.” I have also heard that there are two classes of complainers: those who think they have not received what they deserve and those who do receive what they deserve.
I believe that Spurgeon spoke truthfully when he wrote, “Ten minutes’ praying is better than a year’s murmuring.” Perhaps it is true that complaining lips expose an ungrateful heart. This is why it is so important for a Christian to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. When we complain, we are ultimately complaining against God’s providential care.
A good rule to remember is that if you have a complaint about something or someone and you have the ability and power to make things right, go to the source and resolve the problem. On the other hand, if you are complaining uselessly about something you have no control over or the power to fix, then you need to guard your tongue lest the Lord may take offence.
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