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The Art of Complaining
by Steve Countryman
7/03/2013 / Christian Living
It is the one thing that we all do so very well. Some have made a career of it. Others have mastered all of it's nuances. A day doesn't go by without you complaining about something. I don't care if you think that you are the most well adjusted, caring, joyful and easy-going person alive, you complain daily! In the Old Testament it wasn't called complaining but murmuring. Murmuring was one of the sins that the Israelites did after God brought them out of Egypt. They complained about the food that God provided for them daily, about their surroundings, their living conditions, their journey around the mountain. How they missed the meat and spices of Egypt and how their lives weren't all that bad back there, you know the beatings the slavery, the torture, the mistreatment. When God brought them out of Egypt they were ALL healed and no one was even lame. They left with ALL the gold, silver, jewels and plunder of Egypt. Their clothes and shoes never wore out even after 40 years in the dessert. All their complaints were against God, His servant Moses and His provisions.
Here are some words that describe different ways of complaining...accusing, bellyaching, bewailing, charging, critical, deploring, disapproving, discontented, dissenting, fretting, grumbling, lamenting, malcontent, moaning, mourning, murmuring, peevish, protesting, querulous, regretting, repining, resentful, weeping and whining.
During prayer this morning God put this on my heart as a challenge. Not to complain at all. So I said "Sure, I will do it for the next four days." I of course wanted to clarify the difference between being concerned and complaining. Then it came to me. The day before at work my assistant, Wayne Hurkmans, told me that the two small phillips screwdriver tips that we use were both missing. I started searching for them but couldn't readily find them. That part of my behavior was showing my concern. The next part was when it turned from concern to complaining. I started getting frustrated that they were gone and the more I couldn't find either of them the more angry I became. "I don't understand how they can just disappear? We always put them back and now they are both gone. Great, I will have to get two more so we can loose them too!" Now I understood the difference.
Okay I felt that this was doable so the first thing I thought of was my temper when I drive. Not full blown road rage but simmering lava for sure. So I prayed for help from the Holy Spirit to help me get through this and to help remind me each time I blew it. This morning seemed to be going okay without any major problems. Next the trip to work on the road. So far so good until I came out of the Wal-Mart parking lot. Some idiot wasn't paying attention and was driving down the middle of the aisle so I had to stop and wait for them to wake up and finally move over"tourist!" Instantly the Holy Spirit reminded me of my slip and I repented right there. Next onto work but it wasn't going to be as simple as I had thought. Within the next couple of hours the Holy Spirit had to remind me several more times. I stopped and prayed that if I could just get through this day instead of worrying about the next four days that I would fair better. Time and time again it happened. I finally stopped and prayed that maybe if I could just get through the next hour that I could do better. That is when it hit me like a ton of bricks. In the matter of just a few hours I had went from a challenge of four days, to a day down to one hour and I wasn't doing well at all at that, how very sad!
Complaining leads to other complaints which will lead to other problems that all has to do with the sin of murmuring. In most cases it all starts out the same way. First it is a concern that grows into a worry that grows into a complaint that continues to grow into frustration that turns into rage. A five step process that almost always, without fail, brings disaster. Some have mastered it so well that they can go straight from concern to rage without much prompting. If you stop to think about all of the world's troubles from an individual's point of view you clearly see how complaining plays a big roll in their decisions. The most glaring being divorce! More divorces occur from arguments stemming from complaints. In fact married couples are less tolerant of each other than they would be of a room-mate. No marriage is perfect regardless how long you have been married. It all has to do with how you survive and love each other on a daily basis.
The Bible warns us not to worry or be afraid. The reason has to do with the outcome if you continue to do so. How you will affect your faith, beliefs, life and your health. Complaining is detrimental to you period! It can have negative affects on every part of your life. It can cause you to become angry, cause you to make hasty and bad decisions, cause you to spill your anger over onto other friends and loved ones who are not involved. It can convince you that you need to make changes that can really cost you deeply and worst of all cause you to doubt your God and lose your faith. Complaining doesn't come cheap. It can cost you your health, your friends, your family, your spouse and your blessings that can cost you your future.
Matthew 6:25-34 25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Give thanks in ALL things which includes the good and your concerns, troubles, cares, worries and problems! Being concerned is not a sin but if it gets away from you it will become sin and that you don't need. Complaining is the opposite of appreciating, enjoying and praising which we need to do more of daily.
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Read more articles by Steve Countryman
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