<<moan, gripe>>

Grumbling results from being discontented, deep down, feeling unhappy with how things have turned out (Mt 20:11). Focusing on the negative instead of the positive and continually finding fault prevented the Israelites entering Canaan (Num 14:27-35). Many people are not satisfied with the Lord’s dealings, looking at things from a solely personal perspective – how this affects me now, instead of the long-range, beneficial view. Grumbling is a destructive habit of those not walking in victory or in tune with God, and for which they will be judged because we are answerable for every word we speak (Mt 12:36; Jas 5:9).

Grumbling is the result of disappointment and frustration with the consequent offloading of personal gripes – trying to alleviate the wounds of the soul by attributing blame to someone else, or covering up individual inadequacies by directing attention away from the personal responsibility of sorting out one’s own life.  

Grumblers analyze happenings with a very judgmental attitude; if we do make judgements this should be done in a fair manner, not to vent our frustration, because we will also come under scrutiny (Mt 7:1-5; Rom 2:1-4). We need to assess matters yet we don’t need to voice those opinions and poison someone else. It is wiser to restrain, and retrain, your tongue from speaking evil (Ps 34:13). Try to put yourself in the other person’s place. Could you have done any better?

Our view on life ultimately relates back to our own attitude and response to God (Num 16:11). People and circumstances are God’s instruments for refining our character. Like Paul before his conversion are we fighting and resisting situations, when, actually God is at work behind the scenes (Act 9:4,5)? Pessimists lack vision and motivation to bring about change or even acknowledge what optimists, with creativity and enthusiasm, are accomplishing. If you are prone to criticising and grumbling, have you humbly approached those in authority with a reasoned and constructive alternative, or volunteered to help provide a solution? Anyone can find fault but it requires effort and persistence to bring about beneficial change.

Just as there is always something to grumble about, there is always something to be thankful for – what we look for we will find! Am I biased towards looking for the good in situations, counting my blessings, or am I quick to complain, emphasising what is wrong, and so being ungrateful for His dealings in my life? As Christians, we should be the happiest people on earth “overflowing with

Am I a thankful person or a grumbler?

thankfulness” as we consider our experiences of His grace and the future that awaits us – in complete contrast to those who die outside Christ (Col 2:6,7). We grow through problems and challenges so we should welcome them, not fight against them. The Bible’s message is to “Be joyful always…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes 5:16,18).

Although life isn’t fair and adverse circumstances don’t meet with our pleasure there are many people who are far worse off than we are. It is not so much what happens to us but our attitude and response that is the crucial factor. Are we reflecting the divine characteristics or a self-centred, humanistic response when things go wrong (Gal 5:19-24)? Could I be classed with the “grumblers and faultfinders, following their own evil desires…” (Jud 1:16)? Those who regularly grumble are tiresome to be around as their focus is on themselves, besides which their misery and gloomy view of life and defeatist attitude can quickly spread to others (Num 14:36). When people have been offended and are speaking negatively try to counter this by using uplifting, encouraging positive words.

See also: attitude, complain, contentment, criticism, grudge, negative, not being ministered to, positive mental attitude, thankfulness.