No More Grumbling and Complaining

 

 

Do all things without grumbling

and faultfinding and complaining

Philippians 2:14

 

By

Craig Bluemel

 

 

 

As a devoted husband, married nearly fourteen years to the most remarkable woman of God, I should have nothing to complain about.  Compared to many others, my situation is ideal.  Notwithstanding, I still grumble and snort about the things I have to do, or the way I feel.

 

Here are some of the things I have found to complain about.  I lost my occupation in 1996 due to an industrial injury and 12 related surgeries, 5 root canals, Fibromyalgia, lupus erythematosus, three types of arthritis, chronic sleep disorder, to name just a few.  I spent nearly ten years of my life battling with Workman’s Compensation for the right to medical treatment, wage losses and remittance for unpaid medical bills, prescriptions and travel.  I have endured countless dental procedures, and feel like a guinea pig being tested with every high tech medicine that emerges.  I have dislocated my left shoulder and had surgery for it, I broke my jaw and fractured seven teeth, broke my ribs (the whole right side), broke my fingers (several); all these things, aside from other minor conditions like bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, elbow problems, etc.

 

Now all I have to live with is chronic pain and sleep deprivation, the result of the aforementioned conditions.  Of course the lupus is potentially life threatening, and has already taken its toll on my kidneys.  I suffered a heart attack in 2001, and live day-to-day not knowing if this is my last.

 

Yet for all of the suffering and pain, I should not be a grumbler and complainer.  My beautiful wife loves, supports and cares for me.  I have good friends who go overboard to encourage and pray for me.  I have a home that is paid for, and even a few nice little doggies for pets.  Still… I find lots to nitpick.  Deep inside there is a part of me that wants to complain, to grumble, and criticize. 

 

·        Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart.  (NAS)

 

·        Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.  (NIV)

 

It isn’t so much WHAT I complain about, as it is WHY I complain in the first place.  To understand WHY I complain helps me see how unreasonable my peevish behavior truly is.

 

I was raised as a child in an environment at home where faultfinding was the norm.  Forget all the good things the kids did, my folks made sure we knew how upset they were for our mistakes.  My parents did their best to raise us, but their child raising skills were simply the byproduct of what they were dished out by their parents.

Now, at age 49, I vent the same sort of displeasure at those undeserving of it (especially my wife).  I even get mad at God sometimes, and I know He doesn’t deserve it.

 

Most of my grumbling is done underneath my breath, not out loud.  I don’t want to get caught saying some of the things I muse about.  It seems odd to me that those whom I love the most, most often become the object of my criticism.

 

·        Psalms 44:21 Would not God search this out?  For He knows the secrets of the heart.  (NKJ)

 

Another reason WHY I grumble and dispute about things is the constant physical pain I suffer with.  Any activity I engage myself in results in severe pain.  I can’t even talk without experiencing severe jaw (TMJ) pain and headaches.  If I do any type of physical activity, the myofascial pain is so widespread and acute it nearly doubles me over.  To add insult to injury, I rarely sleep at night due to a chronic sleep disorder caused by the diseases I am diagnosed with.  This exacerbates an already shaky emotional make up, and makes me feel plain old grumpy much of the time.

 

Still, with all of my pain and suffering, I really have NO LEGITIMATE REASON to grumble or complain.  When, for example, I look at people that live in dire pain from third degree burns over 80% of their body, I have it good.  What is it like to have dozens and dozens of painful skin grafts, and afterwards live with the pain and emotional scars?

 

I once watched a television program about life in the trauma center, and saw a man who was in a motorcycle accident and lost two arms and one leg, and severely damaged many other bones and internal organs and blood vessels.  I sat in utter horror as the surgeons removed his mutilated arms and leg.  In an instant, this man lost his entire being; his existence was reduced to a torso and one leg.

 

If I consider my brothers in Christ being tortured for their faith in Sudan, China and Pakistan, life is really a cakewalk.  How do these beloved men and women handle the agony of seeing their children taken away by Muslim slave traders, or the Red Chinese government?  What is it like to witness your spouse being tortured?

 

·        James 5:9-11 Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!  Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.  You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.  The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.  (NIV)

 

Realistically, knowing of the pain and affliction of others DOES NOT make mine go away!  Yes, there are people who are much worse off than me, but my pain is as real as ever.  Still, I have nothing I SHOULD be complaining about.  The key word here is “should.”  There is ALWAYS someone worse off than me, and this is a thought not far from my cognitive reminiscence.

 

Weak human flesh will always find something to moan and whine about.  If the laundry gets too stacked up, I might say, “I HATE doing all of this dirty laundry.”  If the roof leaks, then I’ll whimper about fixing it.  If the car or truck breaks down, or I get a flat tire, suddenly the vehicle becomes the object of my wrath.  Rather than be thankful, and content for the blessing of having a car and clothing, I often complain.

 

·        Philippians 4:11-13 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  (NIV)

 

·        1 Timothy 6:7-8 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  (NIV)

 

Some Christians say, “I get mad, but I NEVER get angry with God.”  If you have never gotten angry with God, then you have not truly come to know Him as your Father.  You see, the reason God adopts us, and calls us “children” is because He WANTS us to have a father-child relationship with Him.  If you are upset or angry, even at Him, talk to Him as a child would trustingly speak to its father.

 

·        Psalms 55:17 Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice.  (NAS)

 

Do your children ever get upset with you?  Did you ever get irate when your father disciplined you?  If not, please contact me as soon as possible, and tell me what it is like to have an ideal life.  Job did a great deal of venting anger in his ordeal.

 

·        Job 6:2, 8-11 "If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales… "Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut me off!  Then I would still have this consolation-- my joy in unrelenting pain-- that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.  What strength do I have, that I should still hope?  What prospects, that I should be patient?”  (NIV)

 

·        Job 7:11, 16-21 "Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul… “I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning.  What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention, that you examine him every morning and test him every moment?  Will you never look away from me, or let me alone even for an instant?  If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of men?  Why have you made me your target?  Have I become a burden to you?  Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins?  For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more."  (NIV)

 

·        Job 9:27-28 "Though I say, 'I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my {sad} countenance and be cheerful,' I am afraid of all my pains, I know that Thou wilt not acquit me.  (NAS)

 

God is big enough and patient enough to hear us vent our complaints to Him.  Unless we begin by being honest with our Father in heaven, how can we ever hope to receive His help to overcome?  Many times I have told God how upset I was, and how life wasn’t fair.  And just as many times I have asked for His forgiveness, and His wisdom to know how I should think and act.

 

·        Hebrews 12:3-12 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.  For what son is not disciplined by his father?  If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.  How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!  Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.  (NIV)

 

In a marriage relationship, it is usually the wife that gets the brunt of the husband’s complaints.  I have unduly, unfairly and undeservedly criticized my wife for no legitimate reason at all! Though I love her more than anyone else in this world, I say things to her at times that are regrettable.  Just like my relationship with God, I must and have also asked forgiveness of my wife on multiple (countless) occasions.  It takes more effort for me to heal and comfort my wife’s wounded heart after I have bruised it than it I had not complained in the first place.  That’s something to dwell on!

 

·        Proverbs 18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.  (KJV)

 

·        Ephesians 5:25-29 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.  (NKJ)

 

My goal in life is to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself.  In order to accomplish these, I MUST grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and find his guidance; only Jesus can help me to cast the cares I have upon God.  After all, Jesus was a man, and he was tempted in all ways.

 

·        Hebrews 2:18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.  (NIV)

 

Jesus is able to help me, and he is able to help you.  He understands what the pressures and trials of this life can do to the human soul.  He knows what it is like to be treated unfairly.  He will help those who trust in and rely upon him. 

 

There is no quick fix to the problem of grumbling.  It is a bad habit, but it is also the reality of weak, sinful human existence.  We must bear long with each other, and do our best not to return complaint for complaint.

 

·        1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (NIV)

 

Israel did nothing but complain in the wilderness, and God considered their complaints a form of idolatry.  Idolatry?  Yes indeed!  Israel pined away when the going got rough, and they longed for the leeks and garlic of Egypt.  They wanted things the way they were in the “good old days.”  They were dissatisfied with what God had provided, and their discontentment turned into idolatry.

 

·        Ecclesiastes 7:9-10 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.  Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?"  For it is not wise to ask such questions.  (NIV)

 

To grumble is merely another opportunity to sin.  You do it, I do it, and we most likely always will.  However, God wants us to learn from our mistakes, and make a solid commitment to view each area of complaint as a challenge to be like Jesus.

 

·        1 Corinthians 10:10-14 And do not grumble, as some of them did-- and were killed by the destroying angel.  These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.  Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.  (NIV)

 

God is faithful; He provides us with a way of escape from the temptations of life.  If we sin and complain, then the way of escape is through His redemption in Jesus.  His way of escape also includes overcoming the evil (grumbling) with good (expressing gratitude to Him, and becoming a cheerful giver).

 

·        Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (NIV)

 

 

A thankful heart never complains…Selah.

 

 


 

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