Yesterday was a good day to complain about the weather. It was 95. HOT! It was really ugly out there. We are good at complaining about the weather. But it is not just the weather we are good at complaining about. We complain about how other people are or are not doing something. And how we would do it better. I know this because I have been good at doing this. When God gave us hair that is naturally curly we complain that we cannot get it straight and when we have straight hair that doesn’t take curl well, we complain about that. I didn’t think I had a problem with complaining until I decided to not complain about anything and what I discovered was that I was complaining about almost everything in some way or another. We are a lot like Job who says: “Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” (Job 7:11)I must confess I am the chief of sinners when it comes to complaining. I think about the things I complained about just yesterday alone.
At the end of the Book of Job, God confronts Job’s complaining spirit. Job responds by saying:
2 “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2–6)
When confronted by Lord, Job’s only response was to repent of his presumptuous words and attitude towards God. He came to realize that the bitterness he was carrying was not serving him or anyone else.
When we complain at all, about anything, our real complaining is against God! Because after all, if He would have made us differently, given us different circumstances, helped those around us to understand us better, given us more money, given us less trials, given us a different spouse or place to live – then we would be happy. Or at least, that is what our human mind says to us every day. So every time a complain comes out of our mouth or forms in our mind and we give in to it – we brood on it and let it hang out for a while, we are complaining against the God of heaven – who gave His own Son for us – who gives us the promises of His Word every day. So the next time you are temped to complain, take a good hard look and see if instead of complaining, you can’t find something for which to rejoice.
It is unfortunate Christians are often known more for what we complain about than what we are grateful for. We are often identified more by what we stand against than what we speak up for. How about you? Are you known more for what you don’t like? Are you known for what you are critical against? Or are you identified by others as one who exhibits love, compassion, and gratitude?
As you think about cultivating a attitude of gratitude you might consider writing some notes of encouragement and thankfulness to others. When you hear someone complain about today’s weather, share with them how everyday is a gift from God. But maybe the most important thing you can do is that when you start to give voice to your complaint, stop and give ear to what God is saying.
Father in Heaven, thank you for the way you love me. Thank you for listening to me when I come to you with my requests. Thank you for wanting the best for me. Help me to learn to complain less and trust you more. In Jesus name, amen.