December 14, 2016 – Complaining, What Is It Good For?
“Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.”
– James 5:9
What Is It Good For?
People love complaining, don’t they? Whether we call it whining, grumbling, or venting, complaining can really hit the spot. But we ought to be careful about giving expression to our every internal complaint. When we allow our complaints to become more than passing thoughts, we give them power. Complaints have the power to ruin relationships and reputations. They feed any anger or bitterness we might have building within. And they pull others into an unholy negativity borne not of love but anger.
Honestly, complaints don’t usually do much good at all.
And in addition to all of these negative temporal effects, complaining puts us on a dangerous eternal path. Speaking of some in the Old Testament, Paul warned the Corinthians not to “grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.” Israel got in trouble again and again because of their complaining. And if we’re not careful, it’ll get us in trouble as well. James speaks plainly when he says, “Don’t complain so you won’t be judged.”
Complaining leads to judgment.
But how can we keep from it? There are moments when it just feels so right!
James tells us how we can keep from it. We keep from complaining by remembering that King Jesus is standing right at the door. Whatever we want to complain about – God already knows all about it. And if it truly is unjust, he’ll deal with it in due time.
But, you may say, what about things that need changing? What if something really needs to be addressed? Then address it! Do what needs to be done. But people don’t usually complain about something they have control over. We generally complain when we can’t do anything else. And if we can’t do anything else, is it really worth complaining about? What will our complaints get us?
They’ll get us nothing. Nothing but the judgment of God, according to James.
So don’t worry and don’t complain. Fix the things you can and trust God to fix the things you can’t.
Our Judge is coming. He’s near. He’s at the door!