Why do we complain? We complain because of what’s going on around us and what’s going on inside us.

1. UNDESIRABLE CIRCUMSTANCES. We complain because we don’t like what’s happening to us. When bad things happen, or when things go wrong, we complain. For example,

  • We complain when we’re faced with threatening types of situations or have unpleasant encounters with people that we don’t particularly care for.
  • We complain when we’re the recipient of unkind words or unjust treatment.
  • A store that doesn’t have what we’re looking for, a car that won’t start, an over-priced meal that was a gastronomical horror, a traffic citation, misplaced keys, kids that don’t behave in the store, and the such like; are all occasions for murmuring.
  • With respect to the Israelites, they complained when Pharaoh made them work harder than before, Exodus 5:20-21; when the Red Sea looked like it was going to be their death, Exodus 14:11-12; and, in our present Scripture text, when they didn’t have any food or water, Exodus 15:23-24 and 16:1-9.

NEGATIVE, UNDESIRABLE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE WHAT GIVE RISE TO MURMURING. Brethren, when bad things begin to happen and you don’t particularly like what’s going on around you, watch your mouth. Unfavorable conditions are favorable for complaining!

2. BAD DISPOSITIONS OR ATTITUDES. We complain, not only because of the bad things happening to us or around us, but also because of the bad things happening inside us. MURMURING IS THE VOCAL EXPRESSION OF SINFUL ATTITUDES AND EMOTIONS THAT WE’VE ALLOWED TO TAKE ROOT IN OUR HEART. For example,

  • If we’re afraid of trials, we’ll complain whenever a trial appears on the horizon.
  • If we’re impatient, we’ll complain if we have to stand in line and wait our turn.
  • If we’re proud, we’ll complain if we don’t get the pay raise or promotion that we think we deserve.
  • If we’re rebellious, we’ll complain if we’re made to do something that we don’t want to do.
  • If we’re discontent, we’ll complain about what we have and don’t have.
  • In the case of the Israelites, they complained because they were fearful, Exodus 14:11-12; they were ungrateful and discontent, Numbers 11:1-6; they were lustful, Numbers 11:4-5, 31-34; they were critical, Numbers 12:1-2; they were unbelieving, Psalm 106:24-25; and they were rebellious, Numbers 16:1-3.

Brethren, if you allow sinful emotions and attitudes to take root in your heart, they’ll eventually show themselves in the way you talk and in the way you respond to undesirable circumstances or trials. In many instances, A LIP PROBLEM IS AN ATTITUDE PROBLEM. BAD WORDS REVEAL BAD EMOTIONS.

3. SELF ALIVE!  ULTIMATELY, THE REAL REASON WHY WE COMPLAIN IS BECAUSE WE’RE NOT DEAD TO SELF. WE AREN’T LIVING THE CRUCIFIED LIFE. You see, while it’s true that complaining feeds on negative circumstances, those circumstances, in and of themselves, don’t have the power to make us complain. We don’t have to complain when bad things happen! But, we complain because that’s how we choose to respond to our trials and undesirable circumstances. And the reason why we choose to complain instead of overcome is because we’re not dying out on the cross like Jesus told us to do.

Complaining is bound to result whenever Self is not being crucified. This is because Self likes to have things go a certain way. And when Self can’t have its own way—when it gets mistreated, denied, and unappeased—Self gets mad and mouths off. THE UNCRUCIFIED SELF IS THE SOURCE AND MOTIVATION OF ALL COMPLAINING. EVERY COMPLAINT IS A MANIFESTATION AND EXPRESSION OF SELF. The presence of complaints betrays, or reveals, the absence of the cross.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 3. I’ll begin looking at how we can live without complaining. It’ll be a real toe-stepper, so put on your steel-toe shoes and get ready for work.

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