Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.
— James 5:9
Our lives are hectic, and we are frequently on the go. First, it’s work, then grocery shopping, household chores, taking care of our pets, and making dinner, which is usually followed by more household chores. Once we have finished with all of these essentials, then we sometimes have little time for leisure. Let’s face it; our lives are full of things to do, and that can create serious stress at times. In those times of stress, how do we conduct ourselves? Do we allow these stressful circumstances to dictate our reaction, or do we rise above them? We all have fallen prey to complaining. We complain because we aren’t feeling the way we want or things aren’t going the way we want them to go. God calls on us to rise above our stresses and trials without complaining. It is perfectly normal to feel emotions of discouragement, disappointment, anger, sadness, and loss. Still, even in the emotional chaos, we need to act on truth and not on our feelings. Feelings come and go, but the truth of God’s love and protection will always remain.
First Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” God wants us to be thankful for every single circumstance we face. Always being grateful for all that life throws our way is not always easy. But, with Christ as our foundation, we can overcome the trials and stresses of each day. John 8:31-32 says, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The truth sets us free from the captivity of sin and gives us a new life with Christ. With the truth of God’s Word, we can be proactive instead of reactive. We have the choice to either complain or make the best of things.
God tells us how we can change our hearts and minds to stop complaining. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” We have to accept that we are in God’s hands. Some people will tell you that complaining is self-serving and completely the opposite of what we are called to do, but complaining is not always bad. There are times when we must take care of ourselves and stand up for our needs. We cannot always be passive, but we have the choice to turn to God to help us with our troubles. Sometimes, that means it is up to us to take care of our problems through guidance from God.
However, we are not to always look out for only ourselves. We are to show love and serve others, not just ourselves. Yet, we must take care of ourselves so that we are available to help others. If we keep others in mind, then we will not be focusing on our problems. Philippians 4:8 tells us what to do instead of complaining, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” All of these “things” put our focus off of us and onto others. The more we focus on others, the less time we will focus on our problems.
The Bible teaches us that we have one place to go when we have a complaint, concern, or need. Psalm 17:1 says, “Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!” We aren’t told to complain to strangers or tell everyone close to us how bad things are. We are to bring our concerns to God. He is the nourishment for our souls. We are to take our worries to Him and let Him work ways on your behalf. God does not want us to complain. As James says, the Judge is standing at the door, and He is listening to our worries.