We recently watched a sermon about the acceptable sins of Christians. The topic of that sermon was complaining. The pastor made several important statements about complaining and what it really does.
1) Complaining is an ATTACK on God’s CHARACTER.
2) Complaining says more about us than it does about the current problem or situation.
3) Complaining says that we don’t trust God and we doubt His goodness.
4) You can’t complain and be thankful at the same time.
I don’t know about you but this was like a slap in the face, a much needed one. So often we find ourselves complaining about the one thing we don’t have or went wrong, when we really should be thanking God for everything that went right and what we do have. It is so easy to complain because that is what we have seen and have been taught to do. We have told to vent, not lament. Some personal experience goes into writing this: I have learned that when you vent you often don’t feel better because you are still upset and people don’t want to be around you if all you do is complain. A few weeks ago my dad preached about lamenting versus venting. Lamenting is better than venting for several reasons.
1) It makes us God focused, not problem focused.
2) It is looking at God and asking for help, not just screaming at Him.
3) Laments are composed of three parts: complaint, what you want God to do about it, and a thankfulness section.
Each section is important. The first section tells God what happened and how it made you feel. The second section tells God what you would like Him to do about it. The last section is a way of showing God that you still trust Him and/or a promise to praise Him when He works on your behalf. (Note: these sections do not have to be in any specific order.)
My challenge to you, and myself, is to catch ourselves when we start to complain and turn our complaints into laments.