…that my husband leaves his socks on the floor, the cabinets doors open, leaves the lights on, forgets to carry out the garbage?
…or that my children won’t clean up their rooms, won’t make the right choices, leave God out of their schedule?
…or that my server brought my salad after my entrée, didn’t fill my water glass, brought me someone else’s meal, or ignored me altogether?
…or that the person in line in front of me at the express-lane checkout has more than the required items?
…or that the person in front of me on the expressway is going too slow in the fast lane?
…or that I suffer a never-ending illness or maybe it’s just some little ache or pain?
…or that I was ignored for a promotion at work?
…or that someone else stole the recognition for my idea?
…or that my mother-in-law hates everything I do?
…or that my best friend stabbed me in the back?
…or that those in the government would…whatever?
…or…or…oh, the endless list of ors!
Second, do we complain out loud or just silently under our breath?
The list above is not from personal experience. Well, some of it is. But what I have learned is that, if that other person I complain about, or to, were Jesus, then what would I do? Yell at Him while shaking my finger in His face? I don’t think so.
I learned a long time ago that complaining never did anything for me except put me in a rotten mood and infect the moods of others.
If I pitch my tent on complaints, it only imbeds negative feelings within me and affects my relationship with others adversely. Not only that, negativity destroys other areas of my life and separates me from my fellowship with the Lord.
So, what is my response?
I’ve learned that thankfulness and praise are the best replacements for any complaints, turning each negative into a positive. For instance, if my husband does something that irritates me, I thank the Lord I have a husband and one that loves the Lord, that he isn’t an alcoholic, doesn’t fool around, or whatever.
If I am not grateful, what kind of abundance is stored in my heart? For out of the abundance…well, you know the rest.
In case your memory need jogging or you don’t know this verse, here it is…“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him.” (Matt. 12:34b-35a NIV) Another version says, “For a man’s heart determines his speech. A good man’s speech reveals the rich treasures within him.” (Matt. 12:34b-35a TLB)
I have learned to praise God no matter what, even if it’s through gritted teeth. When my day is darkened with a multitude of problems that need to “take a ticket, take a seat,” and the songs of my heart begin to stick in my throat, do I still sing to Him anyway? You bet!
When my eyes spill over with the tears of heartache, do I still look to Him and praise Him anyway? Absolutely!
When chaos invades my world, do I still claim His peace and praise Him anyway? Yes, indeedy! For “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Psalm 34:1 TLB) Amen!
David wrote, “Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God.” (Psalm 42:5 AMP)
James said to count it all joy. Defined, that means to lead, rule, consider, or command with authority it all with joy when surrounded with trials and adversities. Therefore, I will command my rejoicing.
I can command my negative thoughts because the Word says I can by “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5 NKJV)
If I constantly boo-hoo my circumstances more than praising God, I magnify my circumstances above God’s character and power. David said, “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Ps. 69:30 NKJV)
We are all so much more fortunate and blessed than two-thirds of the world, and yet, we whine when our new shoes pinch our feet!
I leave you with Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Phil. 4:8 NLT)
May praise be found to frequent your heart and lips!