<<grumble, criticise>>

When our needs, or what we consider our rights, are not being met, we suffer frustration and dissatisfaction that can lead to complaining and hurt feelings. There will always be things we don’t approve of or think should be done differently but this is not a God-honouring way to off-load our frustrations? Don’t respond to a crisis by complaining, which is a negative reaction to unfulfilled desires, and is a ploy of Satan to entrap believers. If we grumble and complain, it shows how worldly we still are (Jas 4:1-3). Complainers regularly bring up the same topics; this only reinforces this problem in their mind and troubles their spirit. Take legitimate gripes to those involved (or to a higher authority – God) who can rectify the problem rather than gossiping the problem to those who are not part of the solution.

Complaining raises our feelings of stress because it is not solving the problem. Focusing on what the other person is doing or has done takes away our own power, inferring that for the situation to change it is solely up to the other party

Complaining is not glorifying to God, as it does not recognise His oversight of our ways

because we can’t do anything about the situation or have any part to play in the solution. This is a false assumption.  What we do have total control over is our attitude to the circumstances. Don’t surrender this to anyone. Determine with God’s help to walk in a ‘different’ spirit – a realistic yet positive outlook, allowing God to work in you through the situations you experience in life. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you God” (Ps 19:14).

We can solve some problems that arise by ourselves through careful thought and suitable remedial action; other problems need the input and advice of others to rectify, and still other situations can only be solved by God.  This is why “In all things, by prayer, we are to make our requests known to God” (Phil 4:6).  Complaining is focusing our attention on what is going wrong and appears to be against us, rather than recalling all the blessings He has given, that are working for our good, and His enablement as we accept from His loving hand this potentially life changing challenge (Deut 8:2; Ps 103:2-5; Rom 8:28). We need to hold ourselves accountable, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? Put your trust in God” (Ps 42:5). Look for the good God rather than the bad devil in situations, then any concerns or complaints of despair will turn into heartfelt praise.  Situations of life either make us bitter as we complain and resist, or better as we accept and overcome. We have the choice – which it will be?

God views speaking against our leaders, the people appointed in authority over us, as a serious offence (Ps 105:15).   When the OT Israelites murmured, God was not pleased and many perished immediately; at another time God decreed all those who complained would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land (Num 11:1, 14:1-4,22,23). Like them, by complaining, we will also keep ourselves from many blessings that we would otherwise recognise and experience.

Jesus said, “Don’t judge or you will be judged with the same measure you judge others”. His advice was, examine yourself before endeavouring to sort others out (Mt 7:1-5). The Bible’s instruction is “Do all without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure…” A good response is ‘I’m going to keep my mouth from sinning by

If I am praising God all day, I can’t be complaining too – Psalm 34:1

quitting complaining’ (Ps 39:1; Phil 2:14). Are we as quick to offer encouragement, helpful advice and praise, as we are to find fault and complain? 

See also: attitude, character, contentment, criticism, dissatisfaction, focus, grumble, not being ministered to, positive mental attitude, reaction, rights, thankfulness/thanksgiving.