I was in a restaurant the other day and the tables were close to each other, so it was easy to hear (yes, eavesdrop on) the various groups talking. As I listened, I realized there was a distinct pattern across the conversation – complaining. Everyone was complaining about something. Whoa – I just realized, even I am complaining about all the other people’s complaining!
No one wins when you complain. You get all worked up, you keep pulling the scabs off of the sores that need to heal … and your complaining is almost always unwelcome by those who are on the listening end. Complaining to others actually puts you on a dangerous, slippery slope to deadly sins such as pride, duplicity, laziness, self-pity, bitterness, rage, or an unforgiving heart.
Why do we complain so much? We don’t like discomfort. It is uncomfortable for us to feel inferior to others, so we try to make ourselves look better, picking at issues and putting others down, which then allows us to “rank” in a better position than them. Another reason for complaining is our pride in thinking we know exactly how situations should go. When these events don’t turn out as planned, we complain about the alternative reality that God deals us. Thirdly, discomfort at not getting our way, not being in control, or just being discontented will get us complaining about anything in our sights to try to pump ourselves back up.
We do need to look at the past, as that is an important part of growing in maturity. But when we remember and look at the what’s happened in the past, our goal needs to be bringing hope for what the future holds. Complaining is not constructive remembering, it is destructive remembering. When processing negative events, and I am certainly advocating that we need to do this, we have to be careful about our real motive for reviewing these negative events. Our motive needs to be one of helping ourselves and others grow with the hope of having a more Godly and fulfilling future as the result of us looking at past events.
Today, if you feel like complaining, talk with God about the difficult path you are on – He understands better than anyone else the stresses and strains that are affecting you. Talking it out with God will temper your thoughts, soothe your feelings, clear your perspective, and help you begin seeing things from His perspective. If you are complaining or listening to complaining, stop and take time to check your motives. Always remember where each of us came from, a sinner saved by grace. And remember there is a list of people with complaints about you too. To complain, or to not complain; your decision, choose well.
Dear Father God, I have been on a long, uphill journey, and my energy is almost depleted. In this state of mind, I find myself all-too-quick to complain to others. I want to live by Your Word, Lord … and Your Word teaches me to do everything without complaining. Help me, Lord, to bring my complaints only to You. Help me not to ridicule others by complaining about them. Help me, Lord, to develop and maintain a thankful heart. I pray, Lord, that You help me send the message to others, in a gentle, loving way, that complaining is wasteful and counterproductive. Help me lead them to You. I pray in the name of the one who refreshes me, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
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
I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint