I was listening to someone discuss the book of Jude, and something interesting passed by my ears. Speaking regarding apostates, Jude says:
Behold the Lord comes with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him (Jude 14-15, NKJV).
Now, if we stop here we could think to ourselves, "wow, these ungodly people doing their ungodly deeds in their ungodly way must be the most horrible of the horrible - so ungodly!" But if we simply continue reading, Jude says:
These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage (Jude 16, NKJV).
How many of us are grumbler or complainers? How many of us because of our own lust and desire to gain advantage use great swelling words, flattering people? How many of us engage in gossip about coworkers? How many of us complain about the president, our boss, our spouses, our pastors, or that guy speeding ahead of us who just cut us off? Even the best of us complain and grumble, myself included. We need to realize the seriousness nature of this sin. It is the sin of the ungodly, which is committed in an ungodly way. I believe that if we complain about anything or anyone, we are often complaining against the Lord, for it is God who orders our steps (see Psalm 37:23Psalm 37:23 (ESV)
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; ) and it is God who sets up the world's powers (see 1 Timothy 2:1-21 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV)
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. and Romans 13:1Romans 13:1 (ESV)
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. ) and it is God who says, even as a slave, to work upright before the master as unto the Lord (see Colossians 3:23Colossians 3:23 (ESV)
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, and Ephesians 6:5-7Ephesians 6:5-7 (ESV)
Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, ). A tough stance.
So this got me thinking... what else does the Bible say about grumbling and complaining?
Philippians 2:14-15 (NKJV) says:
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world...
Not complaining will help us to become blameless and harmless children of God who stand as lights in the midst of a crooked people. It is a part of our witness!
When the Israelites complained against Moses the Bible is clear in saying that they were really complaining against the Lord (See Exodus 16:7-8Exodus 16:7-8 (ESV)
and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him— what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.” and Numbers 14:27Numbers 14:27 (ESV)
“How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. ). Even when we think we are only complaining in our homes and with our family, and not publicly, God still hears (See Psalm 106, especially vs. 25 - "but complained in their tents," see also Deuteronomy 1:27Deuteronomy 1:27 (ESV)
And you murmured in your tents and said, ‘Because the Lord hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. ). When we are murmuring among ourselves, which shows our lack of belief in God's goodness, we must remember that Jesus said "Do not murmur among yourselves." (See John 6:42-43John 6:42-43 (ESV)
They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. ). Complaining displeases the Lord (See Numbers 11:1-2Numbers 11:1-2 (ESV)
And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. ).
Not necessarily for, but in everything, we should give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:181 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. )
Complaining brings anxiety to the heart, which leads to depression (see Proverbs 12:25 NKJVProverbs 12:25 (NKJV)
Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad. ). Complaining is caused by foolishness (See Proverbs 19:3Proverbs 19:3 (ESV)
When a man's folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the LORD. ).
We are to be patient. If we complain against one another, we risk condemnation! (see James 5:9 NKJVJames 5:9 (NKJV)
Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! ). Complaining against God brings destruction (see 1 Corinthians 10:9-101 Corinthians 10:9-10 (ESV)
We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. ). If we need to complain, we need to complain to the Lord (not about the Lord) in a prayerful attitude. David gives good examples of pouring out his heart to the Lord and encouraging himself to be happy in God (See Psalm 42, 102 and 142, for example). See also Psalm 62:8Psalm 62:8 (ESV)
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. — Selah and Romans 8:26Romans 8:26 (ESV)
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. .
Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV) says
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Our words of complaint, even if just mumbled to ourselves, have power - the power of death. One of the enemy's great deceptions has been convincing people that their words and gripings don't matter. They do. Complaining is the ungodly sin of an ungodly people, and we ought to guard our hearts and minds against this. But this is not something we can accomplish on our own. We will need the Lord's help. We should pray as David prayed:
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3)
We should ask God to help us follow the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:29-31:
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.