~Psalms 55:2 Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;
Haven’t we all been down this road? “It’s just not fair!” – I can hear myself saying these words to God. We feel as though we are the only ones going through difficult times yet we know deep down that we are not. In fact, if we looked around long enough, we would find someone who was in a worse state than us.
So, when is it ever right to complain? Is pouring our hearts out to God and telling Him of our problems considered complaining? What does God’s Word say about it? As I read verses that contained the words “complained, complaint, complaining, murmured, murmuring(s),” I discovered that there are times when we need to pour our hearts out to Him and there are times when complaining is sin.
The Hebrew word used here is:
A primitive root; to ponder, that is, (by implication) converse (with oneself, and hence aloud) or (transitively) utter: – commune, complain, declare, meditate, muse, pray, speak, talk (with).
This word denotes a conversation, a prayer, and talking with the Lord. God desires this with His children. He wants to know our needs. It does not pinpoint a dissatisfied spirit – it points to someone who acknowledges his “state” and maybe even questions it before His God. However, his complaints do not lead to sin.
In each of the verses below, David voices his complaint before God but doesn’t dwell on it. Each of these Psalms shows how David encouraged himself after his complaints by dwelling on God’s goodness, grace and faithfulness! These Psalms result in praising God for His omnipotence. It’s like a child going to his father pouring out his heart and coming away encouraged because his father comforted him. I can hear the father now, “It’s OK son, we’ll get through this together! Come here and let me hug you!”
~Psalms 77:3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
~Psalms 102:1 *A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the Lord.* Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.
Murmurings, on the other hand, had fleshly motivations. Major attitude problems lay the foundation of these murmurings. The Greek word describes it as:
Of uncertain derivation; to grumble: – murmur.
This definition is very different when comparing it to the one found in Psalms. This is definitely negative. There is grumbling involved and a very dissatisfied spirit.
~Luke 5:30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
~Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
~Luke 19:7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
Whenever we hear murmurings, there’s always a motivation of jealousy and covetousness prefacing them. We are all guilty of this sin at one point or another in our Christian lives. We take our eyes off serving the Lord out of love and place them on our circumstances. Martha was a good example of this.
~Luke 10:40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
If Martha had remembered her love for the Lord and HE was the reason why she was serving, she would not have cared if she was serving alone.
The Apostle Paul exhorted the believers in this area so they would be held blameless by the unbelieving world.
~Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
If all believers lived every aspect of their lives, good and bad, out of love for their Saviour, there would be no need for murmurings. Amen?
Complaining to God about our circumstances is not sin. If we dwell there long enough, however, and turn our complaints into murmurings, then it becomes sin. We must do as David and encourage ourselves in the Lord after we have spoken to Him. We must allow the Comforter to do His work of uplifting us and pointing us to Christ who is our Shepherd! Our Shepherd cares!
~1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.