Photo by Rebekah L. Holt, eQuest Photography
A Christian Concoction for Conquering Complaints
Written September 2009
For me, complaining has presented its challenges to overcome. Working in our family business, I have had the "privilege" to spend hours doing things I do not necessarily enjoy: being placed on "hold" with foreign technical support because of an electronic malfunction, being transferred to a second, third and maybe fourth automated phone message system, having to call to correct a corporate clerical error because someone else punched the wrong button, or simply trying to locate a bill so we can pay it on time—just to name a few "sample by-products" of my utility nemesis. Truly, my first response is to act like the conquered martyr of the phone company and go into a theatrical monolog of all the pettish wrongs I have endured by the invention of Alexander Graham Bell and his creation's counterparts.
While some humor may be found in this example, a coping with an utility company is a really trifling issue in the larger picture of life. We often face even greater struggles: unemployment, uncertainty of the future, illness, dashed hopes, disappointing relationships, and even deaths. Perhaps we sometimes feel inadequate or even a failure because things have not worked out as we had planned or anticipated.
To handle these issues, we often will resort to the complaint department. However, this is a habit a Christian must seek to break.
Complaining—in essence—is mentally or verbally voicing the distrust we have for Jesus Christ to redeem a situation. It is a selfish, unthankful condition. It means we are unhappily blinded by our doubts, our feelings and our own judgments of a circumstance, instead of submitting ourselves to be "renewed" in Christ's view of each dilemma.
The Bible tells us to "Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:14-15). This scripture provides us the reasons to aspire to not complaining:
We will be considered blameless and harmless. We will be accounted as "sons of God without rebuke" We will be different from the ungodly. We will be a beacon of light—a good witness—to unbelievers. Contented thankfulness overrides an ungrateful, complaining spirit. Yet, by applying "thankfulness" to a situation does not mean that we varnish over struggles, trying to make the issue disappear as if it never clouded our "valley of sunshine." Instead, Christian contentment is honest! It realizes this is indeed a crisis, problem, etc. The key to Christian contented thankfulness is trusting and rehearsing. Trusting that God will supply all our needs and rehearsing all the needs He has provided. Scripture tells us—frequently—to have hope (Jeremiah 29:11-13) and peace in knowing that we serve a God that orchestrates everything for our benefit.
"But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
Many times, He is using a circumstance to chastise or "fine tune" us to a better "pitch."
"For who the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth...now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Hebrews 12:6, 11
Whatever rubs us wrong is often the catalyst to greater character growth—if we allow Christ to use it to shape our lives into a better mold.
Overcoming complaining may be a life long pursuit as life dishes us new circumstances not faced before. With Christ we can conquer, if we do not give up. When you feel choked by the surroundings, stop and recount the blessings of the Lord. You will find that, regardless of the issue, you will not be able to list all that God has proven faithful in accomplishing in your life. Take heart good Christian and be thankful!
A Christian's recipe for relaxing and enjoying life:
"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice...Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you...for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which stengtheneth me." Philippians 4:4,6-9,11b-13