I’m willing to take a bet that most of us would jump at the chance to say that we’re content but let us reflect for a moment. When life rubs us the wrong way our natural tendency is to complain. Think about it…half the time we probably don’t even realize we are complaining. Not only that but we will complain to anyone in the vicinity about how unsatisfied we are with whatever is ailing us at that particular moment if we think there is a chance they are feeling the same way. You’ve heard the saying “Misery loves company”. Well, there is a lot of truth to that statement.
That’s all it takes, a small complaint has then turned into a root of rot. It burrows down causing resentment and anger inside of us and taking whoever was around us for a not-so-good ride. Chances are the complaint was about something that really wasn’t a big deal in the first place. Nevertheless, the enemy’s mission has been accomplished and joy has been robbed.
In my last post we discussed the things we think about and how they affect us. It is completely normal to get angry or upset when we are wronged and there comes a time when we have to address those wrongs. However, there is a difference between that and being a complainer about things that probably occur on a day-to-day basis. For example: Every day you hit traffic on the way to work. Do you complain? Every day you have to clean the morning’s breakfast dishes. Do you complain?
Every day you are short-staffed at work. Do you complain? Perhaps you feel stuck in your lot in life and maybe you want a different life completely, so you complain about not having something better.
You may be wondering how big of a deal is it to God if we spend our days and nights grumbling away about how unfair everything is? I mean does it really make a difference? After all, they are just words and there is no harm in venting. Sometimes we like to sidestep certain verses just because it’s easier to “forget” about them. Don’t buy into that lie, our thoughts and our complaints matter very much indeed.
Let me remind you about the Israelites in the wilderness and their little complaints. They complained about not having enough water, they complained about the manna that God provided, they complained because they didn’t have meat, and they complained about the giants that resided in their promise land. Stuck forty years in the wilderness I’m sure I would have fallen into that trap and done some whining too, especially in the company of like-minded miserable people. By the way, having a crowd of displeased people around you doesn’t make your complaining okay. The complaints from many voices will not drown yours out, for God hears each one of us individually. God heard the Israelites and He answered.
The Israelites were a people who were looking at their cup as half-empty. How many times have I been guilty of this very thing? Instead of seeing how blessed we are in a situation our perception becomes skewed and we focus on what we are unhappy with. What a challenge today to change our perception and to see the beauty in the mundane. Perhaps we are a generation that takes too much for granted or maybe it is the culture we live in that teaches us that we can never have enough. I say it’s a combination of the two with sin as the cherry on top. Only when we are willing to take an honest assessment of our hearts can we see how short we fall.
Oh Lord, may we please learn to have a heart of gratitude instead of a grumbling one. Can I ask you today to take a moment and thank the Lord for all He has done in your life? Take notice of the little blessings around you that millions go without. I found myself being grateful for running water in my home and air-conditioning in this blazing summer heat. I thanked the Lord that I have all of my limbs and I’m able to stand on both of my own two feet each morning, that I have a car to drive, and well the list goes on and on.
When you take notice of the smaller blessings you’ll be that much more grateful for the larger ones. If you’re busy being thankful for everything out of an abundant heart you will not have the time nor the desire to complain. Then eventually your cup will not only be half-full, it will be completely filled.