An Aggie family that didn’t get out much went into town to do some shopping. They went into a large store and noticed some elevator doors that got their attention. The boy asked, “Dad what is that?” The father responded, “Son I have never seen anything like this in my life, I don’t know what it is!”
While the boy and his father were watching in wide-eyed astonishment, an old lady in a wheel chair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched small circles of lights above the walls light up. They continued to watch the circles light up in the reverse direction. The walls opened again, and a beautiful 24-year-old blond woman stepped out.
The father turned to his son and said, “Boy, go get your Ma!”
If only change was that easy! Just walk through a door and you are transformed. The change that we are focusing on in this series is our attitudes, and today it’s complaining.
Do you find it very easy to complain? I do! I find myself complaining about traffic, about incompetent people, having to wait too long for anything.
I used to think that complaining was no big deal. “Everyone does it,” I thought. Now I know God takes complaining seriously.
Look with me at Numbers 11:1:
1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Numbers 11:1(NIV)
Did you see that? God heard their complaining. What were they complaining about? Their hardships; lets agree that being a slave in Egypt was hard, walking through a desert with a lack of water and food at times was hard, but God had delivered them and was leading them. I find it convicting that hardships are not a good reason to complain.
As you know hardships are the normal experience of human life. They confront us all, and they perplex and puzzle us. We often ask, “Why has God let this happen to me?” Trials are common to all people (1 Cor. 10:13). When they strike us, the question is: How are we going to react? Are we going to trust God to help and strengthen us, or grumble and complain?
What are the dangers of complaining?
Complaining is bad for me because it causes anger and bitterness to grow.
Complaining is bad for others. Do you like to be around people who complain? If not, then why would people want to be around you when you’re complaining? I have found that complaining is more contagious than any virus! Once it starts at work or church it continues and before you know it everyone is complaining. Then morale and productivity go down.
Complaining is bad because it’s missing the mark of God’s best for us. In other words, complaining is a sin. Why? Complaining and grumbling show distrust in God:
- Complaining is like saying, “God you could have met my needs and given me what I wanted but you blew it!”
- Complaining shows that we do not trust the goodness and power of God that He will work things out.
As a parent if you overheard your kid’s saying, “I wish Dad had a better job. He is not giving us the things that the neighbors have. He is NOT a good provider!” or “Mom is too strict. Who does she think she is asking us to do this or that?” “What losers!” If I heard my kids say this I would be mad! Then I would be sad. This is how God must feel at our complaining.
Let’s define complaining:
Author James MacDonald uses the following definition: “Complaining is expressing dissatisfaction with a circumstance that is not wrong and about which I’m doing nothing to correct.”
Complaining is about things that are “not wrong.”
If a situation is wrong and you express your dissatisfaction, it is not complaining.
It is not complaining to express your dissatisfaction with meal served at a restaurant and asked the server if it can be changed.
It is not complaining if you are treated rudely at a store and ask for the manager or fill out a customer service form expressing a legitimate concern.
Complaining involves things that “I’m doing nothing to correct.” If we choose to whine about an issue but refuse to get involved in correcting the situation then we are complaining.
If we agree that complaining solves nothing but causes more problems for me, for others and with God, how do we stop complaining?
I must replace a complaining attitude with a thankful attitude.
Instead of complaining about traffic, at least I have a car!
Instead of complaining about work, at least I have a job!
It’s all about perspective.
As Christ followers we have much to be thankful for:
Our past is forgiven and our future is secure
We have God’s word to guide us
We have fellow Christians who walk with us
We have a home being prepared for us
We have a purpose for living
We have a hope for tomorrow and a strength for today.
Check out one of our “Lord Change My Attitude” Growth Groups that will go into much more detail and study about each attitude.