Stop Complaining and Begin Praising

Every day, I am surrounded by a mass of criticism, negativity, & complaints. And I’m not talking about the world around me; I’m talking about Christians. Good, well-meaning people who know the value of their blessings yet can’t recognize them and see God in their presence. Why is this uptick happening? What has happened to us that we have trailed down the path of negativity and complaining so readily? It’s not just because I am a Pastor and get the majority of complaints from people (those go to my husband). My viewpoint is we complain because it’s easy.

It’s easy to see the negative things in the world, and it’s easy to sit in negative energy. But to find the blessing amidst a trying day? That’s harder. Our world makes it easy for us to complain. Christians dole out empathy, compassion, and sympathy to those in need, so we’ve found it easier to complain, grumble, or find fault with a situation around them. Why? Because amongst our Christian brothers and sisters, we are supposed to lend a listening ear and grant compassion, grace, and mercy. But what happens when that complaint becomes nothing more than a habit? What happens when you’re no longer listened to? For many, it’s far too late before they realize their complaining is habitual and lacks glory for God or the Kingdom. For many, they’ve already become a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.

Yet acting that way, having a spirit of complaint and negativity, harboring that energy, or passing off negativity to an innocent bystander isn’t what Christ asked of us. He asks us to be better than the world, like Him. Jesus didn’t complain or grumble. Even in the Psalms, we read laments; those laments turn their complaining into praise! And shouldn’t we be finding a way to do the same thing?

Legitimately, people are going through a difficult time and situation, and you may be one of those. My heart and prayers go out to you. There is a time and place for a complaint. But if you want your complaint to be heard, then you can’t be one who always files them, or you have become nothing more than a noise maker. But do you own the right to file a complaint, write a letter, make a phone call, or make your issue widely known whenever you disagree with someone, something, or some point? You may think you do, but as a Christian, do you want to be that person? So that you know, only you can answer that.

My Sunday School class uses a pre-printed curriculum. It helps me from starting my own from scratch every week. However, some of the lessons are less than great. Instead of saying we didn’t enjoy it immediately, I ask my class to tell me one thing they learned from the lesson. Even if they don’t enjoy the lesson that week, we can always learn something from what someone else is teaching; then, I begin my lesson on the topic.

In the same way, my class every week begins by sharing one blessing per person or family depending on the size of the class. This helps us to focus on where it needs to be, on God and God above, on our saving relationship with Jesus. Because even when we’re amid hardships, He’s present; sometimes, we need to look a bit harder.

As a general rule of thumb, no one wants to be around a person with a heart filled with complaints and negativity. They are hard to be around, can be rude, and even when trying to be funny, they still appear off-color. It’s far more fun and engaging for everyone to be around someone who doesn’t have a heart full of complaints or negativity. Negativity, complaining, and grumbling may work for the news and social media, but it doesn’t work for a Christian. We all have things we can complain about, every single one of us. We can complain about long waits, politics, people who have done us wrong, and the list goes on and on.

The Bible reminds us in Philippians 2:14-15 (NASB) to “Do all things without complaining or arguments; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world…” We have the light of Christ inside of us. How will we mirror His image if all we do is complain?

It’s no secret that I have Cystic Fibrosis. It’s not an enjoyable disease, not at all. But long ago, I decided I had two choices in how to live my life…I could complain about my life, circumstances, and disease. Or I could accept it with the understanding that my Lord and Savior gave it to me. No one wants to be around someone who is unhappy, grumbling, and sees their life as worthless. It’s not that I don’t have my very brief moments; I am human, I do. But I decided a long time ago that my Savior must have a plan in it and through my CF that I do not understand [John 9:1-5], and that was good enough for me.

If you are stuck in a complaint cycle, please remember that complaining is a choice. It is a conscious choice that you are making. You have the power within you to change it. Over 300 verses in our Bible are dedicated to praise and praise alone. My favorite is Psalm 150:6, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” You were created for praise. Did you catch that? You, child of God, were created for PRAISE! You can praise God, even when you want to complain. I challenge you in the midst of your complaint that God would stop your heart of complaint and find the praise. Do better and be better, begin turning your complaints into praise; it may be the most worthwhile journey of your Christian walk.

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