The Cure for Complaining
Some days, it seems that everyone I meet has a complaint about something: their boss, the weather, politics, the condition of the roads…
Other days, I don’t notice other people complaining because I am so busy complaining!
Complaining is a negative and nasty habit, isn’t it? It is pretty much impossible to be “salt and light” when we are spewing smoke and ashes all over the place.
Numbers 14:1-3a ESV
“1Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. 2And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, ‘Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to fall by the sword…'”
If you want to see how much God likes complaining read on through verse 38. I will tell you that He is very blunt and matter of fact about it and all those people who were saying these things did die in that wilderness.
I remember when our pastor was preaching through the Book of Numbers and we were in this passage, he said something that struck me to my core. He said, “There is no place for grumbling and complaining in the life of a Christian.”
That is completely in agreement with God’s Word on the subject as far as I can see. So, how do we break the habit or help someone else break the habit of complaining?
Philippians 2:14-16 ESV
“16Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God, without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”
Later on in Philippians 4, Paul instructs the Philippian church and us to give thanks in everything. (v6)
Psalm 100:4 ESV
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!”
Here is my plan:
- I will ask the Lord to help me be aware of my thoughts and my words so that I will be aware of my witness. I will also ask Him for help in moving this out of my life so that I can be a shining light for Him as Philippians 2 speaks of.
- Every time I complain, I will stop and write down at least one blessing, related to what I complained about, and post it on the fridge. And I will be thankful for it!
- I will ask my husband to bring it to my attention when he notices my complaining.
Real Life Example
My dishwasher has called it quits on me so I am handwashing my dishes these days. There are benefits for me in handwashing dishes – I actually do a more thorough job of cleaning the whole kitchen instead of loading the dishwasher and moving on. Therefore, I am trying not to rush out and buy a new one.
So instead of whining about having a pile of dishes to wash – I will count the related blessings and be thankful:
- I have a sink, with running water in a nice warm home
- actually having dishes to wash
- having people I love who I get to eat with
- having food to eat that causes the dirty dishes
- having hot water in which to wash the dishes
- I can see to prepare food and wash dishes
- I can stand under my own power at the sink
- having a cleaner kitchen
- etc, etc, etc
I take so much for granted! The list just goes on and on! I am so blessed!! I have so much to be thankful for!
How about you? Do you think this might be a useful tool for you to use to help you?
Maybe you do not have a problem with complaining, but you do have trouble being thankful. Maybe you just need a Blessings List.
Things for you to Ponder:
- Am I a complainer? (I notice as I think about it, that I [Dell] complain a lot more than I am aware of.)
- Am I naturally a thankful person or do I need God’s help in that area of my life?
- Even if I don’t voice my complaints, what is the attitude of my heart?