1. We all want sympathy (to be related to).
This comes from selfishness. We are only thinking of ourselves and our desires and needs, and we find it difficult to see other people's situations or perspectives. It would really be great if everyone else would just recognize and agree with us that we have it tougher--really we have had more than our fair share of problems!
2. We are not mature.
Perhaps we lack wisdom or work ethic. Children complain, but we are supposed to put certain childish things away after childhood. As we grow, we learn how life just isn’t FAIR, and that we need to have a Christ-like spirit even in the middle of difficulties. We act like children when we complain.
3. We have unrealistic expectations.
We expect life to be fair and easy. Or, if we’re in generation Y or close to it, maybe we expect waaay more than that…you know, because we’re *special*. When tough stuff comes our way, we’re not prepared to accept it. There is nothing that prevents a thankful heart more than holding on to unrealistic expectations.
We’re not thinking correctly if we think that we won’t have problems in life. We will! But how did Jesus say that we should take them? With tears, pouts, and complaints? No—we strengthen our hearts and rejoice that Jesus has overcome the world.My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him. --Psalm 62:5In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. --John 16:33
4. We justify ourselves.Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves. --Henry Ward Beecher
We tell ourselves that we have a right to complain either because life has been really hard lately, or because, really, this is just a little thing—no big deal—this little complaint. Maybe we tell ourselves that we’re not truly complaining, or that at least we can talk like this to our husbands (or closest friends.)
So just stop it!
We love that Bob Newhart skit with the girl full of problems who seeks counseling and is repeatedly told to just “Stop it!” But it’s not that easy to get rid of habits, especially ones that made us feel better. Here are some thoughts on how to stop it.
1. Regard each complaint as sin.
It’s not insignificant, but it’s something you cannot defeat on your own. And it sent Christ to the cross.
2. Desire to quit!
If you think about grumbling as a sin that put Jesus on the cross, you can't think that it’s a small matter! You will want to please your Master, to leave this sin. That desire will help you to fight it.
3. Desire to protect your testimony, to have care with your “light.”
Remember these verses:
Do others think of you as a joyful person or a complainer?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; Holding forth the word of life…
4. Replace grumbling with joy, faith, and gratitude.
As a Christian, that old stuff of complaining should be replaced with something new—joy! Thanks! Then when you are placed again into a trying situation, you are practiced; you have a new habit of rejoicing and thanking instead of complaining.Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are new. --2 Corinthians 5:17
It hurts and discourages me to think of how often I haven’t helped Christ’s cause here by my ungrateful spirit. These thoughts were for me more than anyone.
Happy Thanksgiving from Africa!