“Never tell your problems to anyone…20% don’t care and the other 80% are glad you have them.”
― Lou Holtz
You know what they say about complaining? It doesn’t do us any good, so why bother. Yet, through the course of a normal day, we hear it all the time. From our co-workers, clients, kids, people at the store, and from ourselves. We don’t always realize our own complaining, especially when we try to hide them in other statements. But they are there. One guy even developed a system to try to eliminate outward complaining for days at a time, but struggled with success in this challenge. So, why do we complain to others or to God? If things are out of our control, who do we want to take charge?
Do everything without grumbling or arguing. Philippians 2:14
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
We hear ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’. If we complain enough, do we get what we want? Maybe. The reason children whimper and whine is because it works. It irritates and annoys those in charge to bring attention to their current wants or needs. It works. Does it always work for us? What about the persistent widow who kept pleading her case to the judge, and eventually he dealt with her requests for justice. Do we have a right to complain when we have been wronged, versus when we just want more than we need, so we can better than someone else? I think God knows the difference.
I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. Job 10:1
If anyone had a right to complain, it was Job. Nearly everything he had was taken from him, and all those around him were as far from encouragement as you could get. Even his wife encouraged him to curse God and die. Yet, in the end Job acknowledged that God is sovereign no matter how miserable we may feel in our current circumstances. Do we act the same way in similar scenarios? When we feel things are not going our way, we complain to God and others if they will listen. We feel things are not right and someone needs to listen. Though our circumstances are not always a result of our actions, we are often quick to blame others instead of looking at our role and the choices we made in our current situation.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13
While we should share our struggles and frustrations with God and with those close to us, we need to look beyond our selfish gripes to how we can still be effective in the world around us. The opposite of complaining is gratitude and thankfulness. The more thankful we are for what we have been blessed with in life, the less likely we are to complain about our current situation or what we don’t have in life. After all, we have already been given the best gift of all through our faith in Christ. That alone should bring us gratitude and joy, no matter any other external circumstances. Let us share with others the source of that joy that they may have peace as well.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. I Timothy 6:6-10
Strength and Courage in Christ,