This is voicing discontentment, being unhappy with life or the treatment we have received from others – feeling we are not being ministered to leads to criticism and grumbling (Ex 15:24, 16:2,3). It originates by harbouring negative attitudes towards situations or the people involved, and reflects on our value of God and His plan refusing to recognise that

Find reasons to honour others rather than allocate blame

He may use negative circumstances to accomplish His best in our lives and demonstrate His glory. Murmuring is seldom expressed directly to those who are responsible and may be able to rectify the situation, rather it is complaining to others about them. Often finding fault is a cover-up for our own incompetence. Because of their murmuring against God and refusing to co-operate with Him all the Israelites over 20 years of age who came out of Egypt died in the wilderness. Their complaining and grumbling prevented them from entering into their inheritance.  What a warning for us to take notice of, so we don’t forfeit our inheritance.  We are exhorted to “Do everything without complaining or arguing” instead “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you” (Eph 5:20; Phil 2:14; 1 Thes 5:18).

Not walking in faith results in murmuring against God, and in resistance to His purposes and ways. This sin-affected world provides numerous opportunities each day to grumble, which indicates we are not master of the situation, rather we succumb to its power. How much better to allow these hassles to build character in us as we approach them with a ‘God allowed this situation to grow me in His ways, so I refuse to become bitter and negative’.

Martha was unhappy with Mary’s lack of help (Lk 10:40). Martha had a wrong attitude that caused her to find fault with her sister, instead of focusing on the task and doing it wholeheartedly. We can either speak life or death into situations, and so “By our speech we are justified or condemned” (Prov 18:21; Mt 12:37).

We have responsibilities to our leaders and all those in authority over us, to obey and respect them. In general, life will be better if we have a pleasant attitude besides looking for the good and positive then expressing it (Phil 4:8). “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Lk 6:45). We can express dissatisfaction as long as our attitudes remain grounded in the belief that God is in control and can intervene or not as He so desires. Coupled with prayer we should take our complaints to those with the authority to rectify the situation (Act 6:1-4).

See also: attitude, blame, complain, criticism, grumble, negative, not being ministered to, positive mental attitude, speech, thankfulness/thanksgiving.