The Do's and Dont's of Complaining

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that 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” (Philippians 2:14-15).

Believe it or not, the Bible does allow some complaining, if done appropriately. For example, the Psalmist poured out his complaint to God:

“With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him” (Psalm 142:1-2).

The Apostle Peter invites us to cast our anxieties on God because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). The Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26).

When we find it necessary to complain to God, remember to:

•  Reverently approach.

•  Never complain about God.

•  Be charitable when praying about people.

•  Be willing to welcome God’s wise answer to your complaints.

But most complaining is of that other sort, the bad sort. We call it “venting,” but it can soon lead to slander and evil thoughts. When we deal with other people, we should make some allowances for their humanness and extend some mercy if they’ve made mistakes.

When we complain about our life, and where it’s headed, remember that God places us where He wants for wise reasons. When we seek a change, we need to pray for God’s leading. When people “bug” or frustrate us, remember that we ourselves have frustrated others.

The true remedy for complaining comes from thinking right. Listen to Paul’s wise words:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Pray for grace to think proper thoughts that honor God. Whatever is on our minds will soon be on our lips (Matthew 12:34). God has a marvelous plan, one that we might not like at first. But in the end, His wisdom will prevail and we will rejoice. Complaining not only drains our hearers, but it drains us also of spiritual vitality.


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