“Do all things without complaining and disputing.” (Philippians 2:14, NKJV)
A friend of mine just got a promotion at work. She is now a team leader. It sounds impressive, especially since she only began the job a few weeks earlier. It’s not an easy job—physical labor—but with everyone working together . . . well, that should make it easier. Right? They are a team.
What is a team? The dictionary mentions things like “a team effort,” “joint action,” and “cooperative effort.” I especially liked “marked by devotion to teamwork rather than individual achievement.” I think it took my friend just a day or two to learn there was little effort, much less cooperative effort, on the part of her coworkers. She had been assigned a team of complainers and slackers. The work was “too heavy” and the pay “too low.” Their backs hurt; they didn’t feel well. That was way too heavy to lift. The hours were too long. I suppose the best part of their job must be lunch hour—but that’s probably too short. If you’ve ever worked with a grumbler, you can sympathize with my friend.
A wise man once stated, “Never complain about the things you can’t change.” That sounds like good advice. But logic would also tell us that if something should be changed, then get busy and change it. If we are unwilling to make the effort, then accept the situation and carry on. All complaining does is make us more miserable. It also makes those around us miserable.
What is a complainer? It’s “a person given to excessive complaints and crying and whining” (vocabulary.com). These are the moaners, squawkers, bellyachers, and snivellers of this world. We’ve all met one but hopefully we aren’t one.
Complaining began in the most perfect setting imaginable, the Garden of Eden. To cover his own disobedience, Adam complained to God about “the woman you gave to be with me” (Genesis 3:14, CSB). Obviously (to Adam), it was God’s fault that he sinned because God gave him Eve. Humanity has been complaining and blaming ever since. God didn’t like it in the Garden, and He still dislikes it today. As we search the Bible, we begin to understand why complaining is so displeasing to God. Here are just a few of the reasons why it is such a destructive habit and angers God.
- Complaining shows a lack of faith in God. It implies that He is not sufficient, (Read Exodus 16:8.)
- Complaining shows a lack of contentment. (Read Hebrews 13:5, I Timothy 6:6-8, and Philippians 4:11.)
- Complaining is contagious. It spreads discord and discontent. (Read Proverbs 22:10.)
- Complaining destroys our inner peace. (Read Isaiah 26:3.)
- Complaining damages our Christian witness. (Read Matthew 5:16, Ephesians 4:29, and Philippians 2:14-16.)
- Complaining is not a fruit of the Spirit. (Read Galatians 5:22-23.)
In looking at the above list, I don’t see how a complainer can be a happy person. What a miserable existence! If we constantly focus on the negatives, everything that’s “wrong” in our lives, then we are unable to acknowledge and be thankful for the blessings God gives us every day. Instead, we must seek God’s help to fulfill Ephesians 4:29 so that our words will be uplifting rather than complaining.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
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