‘Do everything without complaining and arguing.’ (Philippians 2:14)
Are you a complainer? Do you grumble and fuss? Are you someone with a bad attitude? Though none of us may want to admit it, these kinds of questions sometimes hit home. For some reason, many of us believe that we deserve to have our way and whenever we don’t get it, we complain.
They are a lot of complainers found in scripture. Cain complained that his punishment was too severe, and Miriam complained that her brother Moses was getting too much attention. Job complained that his suffering was unjust, and Jonah complained that God was too soft on those who are sinful.
Where did all this grumbling come from? I suppose that we could say that complaining began in heaven with an angel named Lucifer. Lucifer believed that he deserved more recognition than what he was getting, so he started a rebellion. Afterwards, when he was forced to leave heaven and dwell upon earth, he planted the seed of complaining in men.
Why is complaining terrible? Don’t we have a right to speak out about what we think is wrong? Though many of us may not realize it, whenever we complain about our circumstances, we are attacking the One who controls and guides them. Grumbling about life is an attack upon God. Consider the example of the children of Israel.
Numbers 14:2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
At first it seems that the Israelites were murmuring against Moses, but in reality, they were complaining about God. “Why is God leading us into this strange new land? Why did He not leave us alone in Egypt? Is He doing this so our enemies can kill us?” In other words, God must be evil.
Complaining will not only affect our relationship with God, it will also hinder our witness before world. Consider once again the words of Paul.
“Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” (Philippians 2:14-15)
It’s easy to see how a drunkard or an adulterer would not be a good witness, but what about a complainer? What message are we sending to the world when they see and hear about all of our unhappiness?
Matthew 12:35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.