Words of Mass Destruction: Complaining

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.

Philippians 2:14-16

Words of Mass Destruction: Complaining

A man who decided to join a monastery and become a monk had to take a vow of silence. However, at the end of each year, he was allowed to appear before his superior and say two words. After being silent for an entire year, he finally was allowed to speak.

So he said, “Bed’s hard.”

Another year went by, and he appeared before his superior again.

“What would you like to say?” his superior asked him.

“Food’s cold,” the man answered.

Another year went by, and the man again appeared before his superior. As before, his superior asked him, “What do you want to say?”

“I quit,” he told him.

“It is no wonder!” his superior replied. “All you have done is complain since you got here!”

How easy it is for us to grumble and complain! How easy it is to slip into grumbling during conversation, complaining about everything from the weather to what’s for dinner, from a troublesome smartphone to tiresome chores.

Our complaining is destructive—destructive to our relationship with our God. When we grumble against any person or any circumstance, we are really grumbling against God who wills and works all things in our lives. God’s Word exhorts us to confront our grumbling and griping as sin.

Not only is our complaining destructive to our relationship with God, it is destructive to our witness. Our testimony about Christ is tarnished by grumbling and disputing. Why would anyone be interested in hearing about God when we’re so miserable all the time? We are to stop complaining for the sake of those around us who truly are miserable and in desperate need of truth. When we stop complaining, we can better hold out the gospel.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just zap away our negativity with the “Complaint Zapper?” But that doesn’t really undo the damage done to our relationship with God or to our witness to others.

What we really need is the Lamb! The Lamb of God, who never complained no matter how bad it really was. We need the Lamb who let himself be led to the cross and didn’t complain once. We need the Lamb that bears the guilt of all our complaining.

Prayer: Gracious heavenly Father, you are so amazingly patient and kind with us, all the time, even when we lapse into our complaining and whining ways. Turn our whining into worship as we recall the forgiveness brought to us by the Lamb who goes uncomplaining forth. Amen.