With all that’s going in the world, it’s likely that you’ve found yourself in some negative conversations or dealing with some negative feelings. We already know it’s the bad news that makes the headlines. Society is conditioned to focus on adversity. THAT is what gets ratings!
Today, if you speak up, you might be condemned for speaking up. If you don’t speak up you might be vilified as not caring enough to speak up … it’s like Raiders football, there’s no winning. Ha!
The main scripture that’s going to launch us into our conversation today, is Philippians 2:14-15.
“Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world of crooked and perverse people.”
People are constantly complaining about what’s going on in the world and Christians aren’t exempt from spreading this negativity. We’re all human, we all do it. In fact, there are several people in the Bible that were recorded complaining. But when it comes to the issue of complaining, God says He wants His people to be different.
Now, understand, there’s a difference between complaining and speaking into a situation you disagree with. I’m not saying you just have to sit down and shut up and then you’re a good non-complaining Christian. It’s all in HOW you go about it. Complaining just spreads negativity and bad emotions, while speaking calmly and respectfully through disagreements attempts to bring solutions.
I want to share 4 types of complainers illustrated by the examples of some of our biblical heroes. See if you resonate with any of these types. It’s important to recognize where we are so we can get to where we need to be and change our complaints into solutions. I’m also going to share what these “complainers” typically say. But here’s the thing … I don’t want you to forward this to someone you’ve heard say these phrases. Use this to reflect on your own speech.
The 4 most common types of complainers are …
- The Whiner: The biblical example of the whiner was King David. The Psalms are full his complaints! Visit Pslam 73:13-14.
The whiner will say things like … “I don’t deserve this” or “Everybody else gets all the breaks” or “Why is everybody picking on me.”
- The Martyr: The biblical example of the Martyr was Moses. He felt under appreciated (Numbers 11:11-15).
The Martyr says things like … “No one appreciates me” or (under their breath) “It wouldn’t kill anyone to say thank you once in a while.”
- The Cynic: The biblical example of the Cynic was King Solomon. Take a look through Ecclesiastes!
The Cynic says things like … “What’s the point?” … “Nothing is going to change.”
- The Perfectionist: Last but not least, the book of wisdom warns us of the perfectionist in Proverbs 21:19. This verse is really going to test some of you who wanted your spouse to reflect on their complaining.
The perfectionist will say things like … “Is that it?” or “Is that the best you can do?”
Maybe you identify with one of these complainers and that’s a great start! Proverbs 28:13, reminds us that, We cannot be successful unless we admit our mistakes. It’s only then that we get a second chance. If we’re going to begin to conquer the attitude of complaining we can’t make excuses for ourselves and make accusations of others. We must choose to be the positive change in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in.
Instead of complaining about the issues in our community, let’s serve our community.
Instead of complaining about our government, let’s pray for our government.
Instead of complaining about baseball being postponed, let’s … well maybe we can complain a little about that? There’s only so much a person can take!!!
Bottom line is this: Complaining is a sin. It’s what kept the Israelites out of the promise land for so many years. If you’re asking yourself if you should speak up, the better question may be, WHAT are you going to say and HOW are you going to say it? Complaining will never get our communities to the promise land we all desire. Instead of complaining, choose to be the light in a dark world. And the darker our world gets, the more the light can be seen. This will keep God’s promises for you and others in sight.