I posted a lighter treatment of my disdain for whining on Collect Yourself earlier today, but I’d like to treat the topic a little more seriously here.
There ARE valid reasons to complain, especially when you can do nothing about the situation: injustice or illness for instance. There are plenty of instances found in God’s word of ‘good’ men complaining. Job, Moses, and David are just three. Usually, those complaints were really supplications: “Help me! Please!”
I’ve often said that complaining is best served just before recommending solutions. And more often than not, complaining without the recommendation is simply whining. There are plenty of examples of this in the Bible as well. Just think of the Israelites, who were privy to more miracles and first-hand exposure to a glorious God tangibly involved in their daily care than we will ever be on this earth, yet they were a whiner nation as soon as something didn’t go their way.
We have plenty of admonition in God’s word to refrain from complaining and be content and quick to forgive, from Solomon in Proverbs (remember the contentious woman?) to the apostles in the New Testament. The word often used for “whine” is “grumble.” It’s not flattering. People don’t like to be around people who grumble all the time. It’s a major downer.
What is the cure? Contentment. People who are discontent tend to complain, whine or grumble. If I am discontented with a situation I should seek to change it. If I can’t change it, I should pray about it and leave it in God’s hands, content and assured that He will do the right thing. The only thing with which I should truly be discontent is my temporary stay here on earth.
Next week my Saturday morning LinkGroup will explore contentment and complaining in greater depth. I am looking forward to this and I am praying that I will “learn to be content in whatever circumstance I am.”