7 ways you’re explaining away your complaining attitude

Murmuring is my constant companion.

It’s there every time I roll my eyes in traffic; every time I get frustrated with my dog. It’s there in the memory of my childhood and the reality of a world without a dad.

In the big things and in the details: murmuring lurks in my soul.

And that’s not good, because murmuring is a big deal to God.  It’s rebellion.  It’s a rejection of the cross and dishonoring of Christ Himself.

Maybe you don’t recognize it.  Maybe you, like me, explain it away at every turn.

Here are 7 lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better about our murmuring:

(1) My murmuring is against people and circumstances – not God. 

Hmm. that sounds familiar. In Exodus, the people are complaining about Aaron and Moses and Moses tells them this:

“When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.”(Exodus 16:6-8, ESV)

What are the people you grumble against? They are God’s creation, directed by His sovereign will.

What are your circumstances? They are arranged by the providence of God.

Make no mistake.  Every rolled eye, every grumbling thought is against God.

(2) My murmuring is an honest prayer to God.  Isn’t that what He wants from me?

Sure. God wants you to approach Him like you’re His kid, but He also wants you to approach Him like He’s God.

Every murmuring word is an un-doing of your prayers.  Prayer declares that God is wise, sovereign and good.  That’s why we pray because we trust Him.  Murmuring has the opposite intention.  Instead of being a declaration of trust, it is a proclamation of distrust.

(3) Am I not allowed to have a hard day?    

Of course.

Godly contentment has nothing to do with suppressing suffering.  But it will always be combined with a deep sense of joy and trust in God if that’s the case. No matter how deep your sense of how hard stuff is, if it is a godly sorrow, it will never hinder your sense of God’s mercies.

(4) This is a righteous murmuring against injustice.

If we are really experiencing righteous anger, it brings with it two things: (1) a sweet contentment with our affliction because we know that men – even in all their evil ways – are God’s instruments for our good and (2) a sense of sorrow and compassion for those who are not walking according to His will.

(5) I think I could handle most affliction.  It’s just this one thing that is hard for me.

I get that.  Even now as I sit here typing this I am up for any kind of suffering that brings me more of God (in theory), but in practice there are 2-3 things that my heart can’t help but think ‘not that’!

But God is my carver.  He chooses what is most suitable for me.  His goal is to grow in me the kind of character and contentment that can sail steadily in any kind of storm.

And He’s the Great Physician.  He knows what is best for me.  He knows what’s really wrong with me and He knows the true prescription for what will heal me.  God save me from being the kind of patient who murmurs against the medicine that will save my life.

(6) I’m no murmuring about dumb things.  This is really big and really hard stuff.

I don’t know your afflictions are.

But I know what your mercies are.

“I know they are so great that I am sure there can be no afflictions in this world as great as the mercies you have.” – Jeremiah Burroughs

God has brought really hard things on the people He treasured the most: Job, Joseph, David.  Jesus.

Don’t take your suffering as indifference or rejection.  It is generally a sign of great love for His people, preparing them for Himself.

(7) I love God. And He’s enough for me.  But isn’t it okay to want more? 

To want things? Yes.  There’s no way I could say that is wrong biblically.

But to want more? How could we?  What is there that is more than the portion Jesus has secured for me:

  • God as my father
  • A King who rules perfectly and has entrusted me with His mission
  • A spouse in Christ
  • A glorious inheritance
  • Access to great and precious promises

More?  Is a husband more?  Are well-behaved kids more?  Respect in the world, a promotion at work, a better community – can these things be called ‘more‘?

A murmuring heart looks at all that Christ bought us at great price and responds: eh.  Not enough.

(These thoughts come from that book I was telling you guys about.  Check it out.)

3 thoughts on “7 ways you’re explaining away your complaining attitude

  1. Thank you for this post. As I “stumbled” across this post, I realized that it was no accident. I bought the book on Amazon for my kindle and have been reading. Can’t believe it was written 400 years ago. This read is revealing the need of my heart to confess and repent.

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