We all have issues we complain about in life. Our work, relationships, lack of money. It’s natural to voice our displeasure when things don’t go our way. It’s when we make a habit of complaining, however, that we get into trouble. Especially, if we simply complain to others just to vent our frustrations. It really serves as a bad witness for others to see a believer complain and not let up. People will sense the bad condition of our heart and think it represents our faith as a whole. “So this is what being a Christian is like.” We definitely don’t want that to happen. We need to direct our response in a positive way, instead of just complaining to anyone who will listen.
We should model our actions after King David. Although David had an excuse to complain, he didn’t do it in front of others, ranting and raving about the injustices of this world. Rather, he took his displeasure directly to God. In the Psalms, he voices his complaints and explains his troubles, but notice how his complaints turn to something else—he lets his attitude change from anger and fearfulness to overflowing praise to God.
Read Psalm 64: 1-10:
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 Hear me, O God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy.
2 Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from that noisy crowd of evildoers.
3 They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows.
4 They shoot from ambush at the innocent man; they shoot at him suddenly, without fear.
5 They encourage each other in evil plans, they talk about hiding their snares; they say, “Who will see them ?”
6 They plot injustice and say, “We have devised a perfect plan!” Surely the mind and heart of man are cunning.
7 But God will shoot them with arrows; suddenly they will be struck down.
8 He will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin; all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.
9 All mankind will fear; they will proclaim the works of God and ponder what he has done.
10 Let the righteous rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him; let all the upright in heart praise him!
If anything, habitual complaining shows our lack of trust in what God can do. It shows our focus is not on God but the dire spotlight of our problems and that we would rather spew out our displeasure than pray for change or trust God to make it right. Such an attitude is exactly how the Israelites responded when they were confronted with challenges in the wilderness. They felt better complaining about the situation than trusting God to deliver them. That’s why God grew so impatient with them. Time after time, they demonstrated their faithLESSness instead of holding fast to the promises given to them by their heavenly Father.
Numbers 14:26-38 says,
26 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 27 “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. 28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say: 29 In this desert your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. 32 But you—your bodies will fall in this desert. 33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. 34 For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ 35 I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this desert; here they will die.” 36 So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it- 37 these men responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the LORD. 38 Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.
Life Steps to Stop the Complaining Habit:
- Always take your complaint to God. It’s His answers you want, not man’s. Let him know about it and don’t hold back. But, let it turn into praise. That’s the best healing you could experience. You’ll find the courage to pray for those you’re complaining against.
- Never tear down other people in your complaints. Pray for them and resist the urge to speak curses, especially against fellow believers.
- Seek to understand the reason behind your complaints. Is it because of an injustice or is your pride just wounded? Learn to discern if the problems are from you and your attitude or if they’re really legitimate.
- Trust in God to help you and then rest in His peace. There’s a time to take your problem to Him and then at some point you’ll need to let it go. Learn to rest and not pick it up again.
Pray this prayer: Lord, I confess I’m in the habit of complaining. I get so frustrated that it makes me feel better to vent than to close my mouth. Forgive me for putting my focus on my problems instead of what you can do through me. I want to seek your answers and not just continually voice my displeasure. Help me to turn my complaints into praise and to love you like I should. Thank you for your goodness. Amen.