Wednesday, 10 July 2013 15:15

Quit Complaining!

Written by  Brenda Payne, Eastwood Counseling Center
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The text for my devotional was very familiar. In fact, I had taught it to my children as soon as they were old enough to protest. We even memorized the verse with the aid of a catchy tune by Steve Green. Philippians 2:14-16 says, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.”

As I meditated on the passage recently, I considered my progress in the Christian faith and evaluated myself as having done quite well. After walking with the Lord for almost 30 years, I had fallen into the trap many veteran Christians fall into: classifying my sins as “major” and “minor” and grading myself on a curve! I thought to myself, “I don’t complain much. I hardly ever argue. I am doing really well. I am better than I used to be and far better than a lot of people I know. And besides, these are “minor” issues in the big scheme of things, right?” Wrong! Complaining and arguing is a big deal to God!

 

I decided to challenge myself (and my family) by initiating a “no complaining/arguing zone.”  For one week, I would crack down on complainers and arguers, starting with myself. On the first day, I was mortified! I realized that while I did not verbalize most of my complaints, they ran unchecked through my mind throughout the day. I woke up grumbling about the weather. “It’s too humid. And, it’s raining again?” I grumbled about the children. “Why doesn’t he ever clean up his messes?” “Why does she play her music so loud?” I found reasons to bemoan my chores. “All I ever do is clean up so we can make things a mess again!” I even found fault with my husband who was faithfully at work and not even in my presence! As the day wore on, I surmised that I was the biggest complainer I know. Thankfully, I did not verbalize most of my complaints.

 

God commands us to not complain about anything, but on this particular day there wasn’t anything about which I wasn’t complaining! Thankfully, as I confessed my sin, God gave me the grace I needed to redeem my attitude for the rest of the week. Here are a few insights I learned.

 

• First, confess your complaining and arguing as sin and recognize the sin beneath the sin. The bitter root of complaining can almost always be traced to pride and/or selfishness. Pride makes you think too highly of yourself. Selfishness leads you to think chiefly about yourself. When you consider the heart that promotes these sins, you can better see the serious nature of the offense. Don’t minimize. Don’t rationalize. Don’t justify. Call it like God calls it.·         

 

 

• Secondly, don’t grade yourself on a curve (that is, in light of what those around you do)! If you don’t deal with complaining and arguing radically they will easily become a pattern in your life. Complaining can begin quietly in your head and quickly grow into verbal expression. Pray the Holy Spirit will convict you before this happens. And, if you should sin with your mouth, be “blameless and innocent” in the matter by asking for forgiveness of those who heard you. Then make the necessary changes in thinking, attitude, and words.

 

 

• Thirdly, don’t underestimate the erosive effects complaining and arguing produce over time in your relationship with God and your neighbors. We tend to think sin is less serious if we don’t see immediate negative consequences for ourselves or others. Erosion is a slow process which often goes undetected, but if left unchecked can result in catastrophic damage.

 

 

Fourthly, purpose in your heart to stop complaining. We live in a world where complaining and arguing are the norm. But what if you woke up today and you refused to complain about anything? What if you declined to begin or be drawn into foolish arguments? What if you took a different attitude to work? What if you resisted the temptation at school to complain about your teachers and the workload? One thing’s for sure, you would stand out! You would be a bright light in a dark spot. Think about how it would impact of the credibility of your witness for Christ.

 

 

• Fifthly, start today by keeping a journal. Write down your complaining thoughts and words. Keep a written account of your arguments. See what patterns emerge. What do you complain about? Who do you complain about? Who do you complain to? What do you argue about? Who do you argue with? Ask the Lord to help you see where your own pride and selfishness is at play. Also, ask the Lord to help you deal with these root issues and to find a more mature Christian to hold you accountable.

 

 

• Finally, put on gratitude. Paul told the Thessalonians, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” He told the Ephesians, “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). Ask your Heavenly Father to give you a heart filled with gratitude and graciousness. Begin a “thankful list” especially about those things or people you are most tempted to complain about. And, pray blessings upon those “practical enemies” whom you find yourself in disagreement with continually.  When you do these things, see if the Lord doesn’t open to you doors for greater fruit and fruitfulness in life and ministry.

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 26 April 2018 10:42
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