Who in your life is a constant complainer? You know the one: every time you talk to them, they’ve got something or someone to bitch about. Sometimes they call you just to bitch about stuff. Sometimes it’s big stuff, but most of the time it’s trivial. We put up with them, but it gets old after awhile. If you’re in a larger group of people, this person seems to drain the energy out of the group because of their complaining.
Are you that person?
All of us have times where we complain. I get whiny when I’m sick (which, fortunately for my wife and kids, is rare). Maybe you complain in the long line at Wal-Mart, or in traffic, or when your kids drive you nuts… or when you don’t get your own way. Which, if that’s you, means you complain a lot.
At it’s core, complaining is nothing more than selfishness. Complaining reveals that we believe, either for just that moment or if it’s our default, that we are the center of the universe. Complaining is nothing more than idolatry of self.
Psalm 95 gives us the remedy for complaining: worshiping God. The final verses of the Psalm are a warning against grumbling and complaining. They mention two prominent places where the ancient Jews complained against Moses and against God. Look how the author prefaces the warning in Psalm 95:6-8a:
Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…
Worship ascribes worth to the thing or personage worshiped. When we complain, we ascribe worth to ourselves–we deserve to be first in line, people should be more considerate of our time, etc. But when we realize that our lives are worship to God, and when our minds are transformed, we realize that we really shouldn’t be complaining at all. Think about it–apart from God, we’re just tiny little meat sacks floating around on tiny speck of dust in a random place of a cold, dark universe. But God thinks about us all the time. We’re constantly on his mind. What right do we have to constantly complain when He’s graciously provided for us? When we focus on worshiping Him, our egos deflate. We decrease while He (and rightfully so) increases.
So the next time we start whining, we need to do three things: shut up, repent, and worship God.