‘Got a complaint? Take it to the management!’ That is an old saying, when one is tired of hearing complaints from others. Complaining is an age old problem and one that I have struggled with over the years. So, when I read a recent article from Newsweek magazine entitled "Stop Your Sobbing —Now" (www.newsweek.com/id/117883) about a pastor in Kansas City, MO who led his congregation to stop complaining, my eyes opened wide.
It’s true! It seems Will Bowen, a pastor, challenged his people to stop complaining. He gave out purple rubber bracelets that had SPIRIT emblazoned on them, to remind his congregation to replace their negative thoughts with positive ones.
I have recently embarked on my own pilgrimage to put off complaining. I was convicted of my need to clean out my personal complaint file after reading Psalm 34. I even memorized it so that I could have something positive to say when I was tempted to complain. The first verse emphasizes the determination of the Psalmist to "bless the Lord at all times" and to let "His praise continually be in my mouth." Paul reminds us from the dark, dinginess of a prison cell to "rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice." (Phil. 4:4) The ‘all times,’ ‘continually,’ and ‘always’ say it all. There is no time when we ought to cease from praising the Lord and start complaining. Not even when the car breaks down on the highway; or when your check bounces; or when your shed is blown all over the neighborhood during a storm and you are out there in the middle of the night cleaning it up; or when illness or death strikes near to your heart, all of which have happened to me. There is no time for complaining, only praising.
This is not the power of postive thinking of Norman Vincent Peale fame. No! This is the power of Holy Spirit led thinking.
If you and I are going to walk with the Lord we must be filled with the Spirit. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:18b-20 that "being filled with the Spirit speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God and our Father." That says it all doesn’t it?
The basis for this call on your life and mine to stop complaining is the truth that God is in control of all things in our lives. To complain at some trial of life is to mock God. It calls into question God’s goodness and love and wisdom in letting things happen to you that you do not like. The Israelites complained and God wanted to kill them. He had provided so much for them in getting them out of Egypt and providing for them in the wilderness. They were a mob of ingrates. Complaining reveals our ingratitude toward God despite the fact that He sent His Son to die for us and gave us eternal life. WE HAVE NOTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT. Even if God should take away all our possessions or our health, we would still not be just in complaining. In short, complaining is sin against God. Let’s confess it and repent of it and replace it with thanksgiving and praise.
If you have a complaining problem. Why not work on it with me. Rid yourselves of this dark blot in your life. Memorize Phil. 4:4 and Ps. 34:1-3. Whenever you are tempted to complain stop yourself and think about one of those verses and then thank or praise Him for your situation and slay that giant ‘Complaint’ that has so dominated your life. Be free from complaining once and for all.