There is a sure-fire way to cause others to avoid you. Gripe and complain. Criticize. Moan and groan about all your discontentment. Murmur against those in leadership and let others know how unhappy you are about __________ and __________.
I was on a youth trip once with some guys from church. We visited a lake and took in one of the most beautiful sunsets one could hope for. I noticed, for a long while, that no one was talking. Everyone just watched, in awe, thinking, admiring, and probably “in the moment” just very thankful.
The interesting thing about being thankful. It removes the possibility of grumbling and complaining.
Numbers 14 records Israel’s infamous all-night pity party:
“And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!”
The word “murmur” literally means “to grumble.” It comes from a Hebrew word also used in the Bible to mean “to lodge; to stay permanently; tarry all night.” When we begin to murmur—we are creating our own miserable living space, and laying down in it. It’s a pity party!
We harbor negative attitudes against a situation or a person when we begin to murmur. Murmuring is a spirit of disdain for, and even feelings of superiority over, the other people involved. Rather than feel empathy and a desire for things to be right and others to be blessed, murmurers tear down, criticize, and throw proverbial stones at others.
Murmuring ignores the power and promises of God, and in effect, is a slight against God Himself.
Murmuring against God’s chosen leadership is a subversion of God’s divine order. It ignores spiritual authority, dishonors God, and makes light of His sovereignty and His holiness. This is why Moses and Aaron knew that God would destroy the people for murmuring—and so Moses the man of God pleaded for mercy and forgiveness.
Murmuring and complaining is spiritual noise pollution.
When we complain we release a contagion of negativity and faithlessness into our environment. The atmosphere stinks. Our presence begins to reek of selfish pettiness. We literally drive good people and good things away from us as we gripe and complain.
Murmuring left unchecked breeds rebellion. It “gives place to the Devil.” Do you really want to provide “lodging” for the Devil?
Apostle Paul warned the church: “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer” (1 Cor 10:10). While he was being persecuted—and literally in prison—he wrote to the Philippian church saying, “Do all things without murmurings!” (Phil 2:14; most translations use the words “grumblings”).
The remedy for murmuring and complaining is GRATITUDE!
Colossians 3:15 teaches us: “Be ye thankful!” It’s impossible to be a complainer if you are a truly thankful person. How can we spew out complaint after complaint if we are talking about the goodness of God and how we are a blessed people?
“Happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.”
Why could the Psalmist say “Happy is that people”? The previous verse lets us know: “…there be no complaining in our streets.” The absence of complaining walks hand-in-hand with a happy and blessed life. Oh, that there be no complaining in the streets and avenues of our spirit. That there be no ungratefulness, no bitterness, no moaning-groaning-complaining spirit.