HAVE YOU BEEN around a person who complains and criticizes constantly? I don’t stay around those types of people for very long. If you want a formula that will destroy your relationship with God and others, give yourself over to complaining and criticizing.
Some people complain about everything. They complain about the weather, the economy, their job, their boss, and their co-workers. One common complaint is how people drive. How many times have you yelled in your car at a driver? I tease my husband because he gets irritated when people don’t know what to do when they approach a ramp on the freeway. He is talking, and, of course, I am the only one in the car. I laugh and tell him, “They can’t hear you.”
When I think of complainers, the children of Israel come to mind. Of course, we know Pharaoh was persecuting the Jews. God had compassion on them and chose Moses to lead them out of Egypt. God miraculously parted the Red Sea, so they could escape.
The Egyptians came after them but drowned in the sea the Israelites had crossed. The people were rejoicing and began singing and praising God for their deliverance.
During their journey in the wilderness, they came to Marah. The water was bitter, and the Israelites were unable to partake of it. Suddenly, their praises turned to murmuring and complaining. It’s amazing how quickly our praise can become complaints when unexpected challenges come our way.
God had mercy on them and gave Moses the plan for making the bitter water sweet, and they were able to partake. The Lord then gave them this promise in Exodus 15:26–27 (NKJV), “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you. Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters.”
You would have thought the children of Israel would have realized that God was with them and would deliver them from every challenge that they encountered on their journey. But time after time when a challenge occurred, they began complaining instead of looking to God for the answer to their situation.
Let me ask you a question? What have you been complaining about—your job, your spouse, your children, the car you drive, or the house you are living in? I would encourage you to stop complaining and began giving thanks for what you do have.
I once read in a column where a lady complained that her husband snored and kept her awake at night. Another lady wrote, “I wish I could still hear my husband snore.” Her husband had passed away recently. So many times, we are like the children of Israel. We complain about our job or boss and decide to work for a different company. Later we say, “Wow, I had it better where I was.”
An old adage says, “The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.” I like to add: “Until you cross over and find the same challenges you faced are on the other side of the fence.”
The Apostle Paul is a great example of being positive in any situation he encountered. I love to read the Book of Philippians. It so inspires me to rise above my complaints and look to God in every situation I find myself in.
Paul was in prison writing a letter of encouragement to the Philippian church. He wrote in Philippians 4:4 (NKJV), “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”
I often say if it had been us writing the letter, we would have started out with, “Grumble in the Lord always. Again I say grumble.” Paul then wrote in verse 8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Life is about choices. Will you choose to complain or praise? I choose to follow Paul’s example to rejoice in the Lord and meditate on the good reports!
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