I know I sure do sometimes. There’s a whole host of things we might murmur about. The weather, our jobs, our bosses, our churches, our families, our neighbors, what’s on TV, poor service, money etc. I could go on and on.
Sometimes we murmur because it just seems normal. Everyone else is doing it. You stop at the grocery store and the conversations around you might be something like, hot enough/cold enough for you? Man, is it ever going to stop/start raining? Can you believe the price of groceries? Why do they never have enough registers open? You know how we can get caught up in those conversations.
I guess in today’s language we would say we complain. We grumble. We mutter, we gripe, we moan, we whine. Ever do that? Or is it just me?
What makes us do it? A critical spirit? Perhaps. Sometimes it’s because we are just plain ungrateful. Other times we may be caught up in a group of people who are griping and complaining. Co-workers or family members perhaps, one person starts complaining and everyone else has to join in with their complaints and opinions.
We are certainly not the first to gripe. The Bible has lots of examples of those who murmur. Yesterday I was reading in Exodus, about the Israelite’s murmuring and complaining to Moses because they had no water and no food. Seems like a legitimate complaint. How many of us would keep silent if we and our children were hungry and thirsty? Then I read Exodus 16:8: “Also Moses said, “This shall be seen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for the Lord hears your complaints which you make against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.”
Wow. That puts it in a different light. When we complain that things are not the way we want them, or we don’t have what we want, or feel we need, or should have, we are complaining against God. We are saying You have not provided for me well enough. You have not done the things that I want you to do. Like we somehow know better than God. I’m not sure. Perhaps it was the way the Israelite’s complained. They didn’t trust God to provide, even after all He had done for them. Instead of just asking Him for provision, they complained.
One problem with complaining is we can drag others down into it with us. We want others to know what injustice has been done to us, so we murmur and complain. The problem is this can lead to gossip. And we know the Lord hates gossip. We can lead others to sin. Then they may go and share what you told them about this person or that situation and the gossip continues on.
We can also be sowing discontent among others. We start complaining about our job or our family or our church, and those who never had a problem with those things all of sudden start seeing only faults. Now they are looking at people and situations in light of what we may have complained about, not the way they saw it before.
Proverbs 6 talks about the seven things the Lord hates, and one of them is one who sows discord among brethren. (Prov 6:19). Is that what we set out to do? Most of the time this was never our intent when we started complaining. We wanted sympathy, or understanding. Someone to agree with us. We were unhappy and we wanted others to know it. Our intent was not to sow discontent or to gossip. Yet it might have happened anyway.
That does not mean that sometimes we will not have legitimate complaints about situations. But instead of complaining to others around us, we need to take our complaint to the one its about, or to someone who can fix the problem. Sometimes, all we are supposed to do is pray about it and keep it to ourselves.
The Lord knows our weaknesses and He knows that sometimes we will be in situations that are unfair or unjust. And He knows that sometimes we will be unhappy about things in our lives. Instead of murmuring to others, we can go to Him as it says in Psalm 62:8: “Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”.
We can trust God that if something needs to be worked out He will help us. Yet, there are also times the Lord has us in a particular place, or in a particular situation because He wants us to learn something. Or, He wants to work something out of us that is not pleasing to Him. As long as we continue to gripe and complain instead of trusting the Lord we will stay in the same place. And who wants that?
Thankfully, we don’t have to stay the way we are. We have God’s Word to renew our minds and change us. I love 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “ All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. And Hebrews 4:12: “ For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Let’s let the Word start doing it’s work in us today.