Week 3: Wednesday
- Jude 17–25
- Psalm 19:1–14
- Exodus 17:1–7
Questions to Consider
- Why do we complain?
- What are the consequences of constant complaining?
- What might you do different when you find yourself overwhelmed by a complaining spirit?
- How does Jesus help us overcome complaining?
Plan of Action
- The opposite of complaint is praise. Go out of your way to intentionally and publicly compliment someone you may not typically praise. Consider someone who might normally be the object of your complaint.
- Give your complaints to God in prayer.
- The next time you find yourself complaining about a situation, ask how you can help to make it better.
When our kids start to complain, my wife and I will tell them they sound like Russell from the movie “Up.” Maybe you have seen the movie. Russell is a young Wilderness Explorer Scout who is eager to help Mr. Fredericksen, an elderly gentleman (or grumpy old man).
There is one scene in the movie where Russell starts to complain: “I’m tired, my knee hurts … my elbow hurts, and I have to go to the bathroom …” You can view it on YouTube:
Are you ever like Russell? We are good at complaining. We complain about the weather. We complain about the traffic. We complain about coworkers. We complain about people at church. There is no limit to the things we are able to find the complain about.
But there is something complaining does to our spirit. It wears us dull. It darkens our soul. It makes us weary.
The weather may be cold. The highways may be congested. Our coworkers may be difficult. The people at church may be hypocritical. But complaining rarely accomplishes anything other than making us feel worse. Instead of complaining I might offer some other suggestions.
We can bear our soul to God in ways we cannot towards other people. The Bible says:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26 (ESV)
God understands us in a way that no one else can understand. And in those moments where we cannot put words to our thoughts and emotions, the Holy Spirit speaks in our behalf. The other thing about prayer is that prayer works. Complaining does not. When we bring our grievances to the Almighty he is more than able respond to our need.
Make a difference
Consider constructive solutions to difficult situations instead of complaining. Consider how you might help the situation. We sometimes fail to realize we are as much of the problem as anyone else. Maybe the reason the situation is like it is, is because no one took the initiative to change it. Many times it is easier for us just to complain about a certain situation than it is for us to take action. So we just complain.
Let it go
Since I already referred to one Disney movie, I will refer to a second. Another favorite movie for our family is “Frozen.” We’ve all heard the song “Let it Go.” Sometimes we just need to let it go! You can’t change the weather, so why worry about it. It is what it is. Make the most of it. There is a big snow storm bearing down on your town. School is canceled. You can’t get to work. Then enjoy the time together with your family.
If we look hard enough there is something good to be found in every situation. In even the most difficult situations there is something to be gained. It may be finding a friend who shares a similar struggle. It may be letting go of unrealistic expectations. It may be developing a newfound faith and confidence in God.
The opposite of complaint is praise. When we speak words of praise it has the opposite effect of when we speak words of complaint. Words of praise uplift our spirits and brighten our souls. Words of praise and affirmation change our outlook. You may not feel it. You might be downcast. But don’t let that stop you. Give God the glory. Give him thanks for his goodness. Sing a new song. Then see the new thing God does in you and through you.