The book of Numbers might not be the most exciting book in the Bible but it served as a mirror for me today. It made me question my habits of complaining. Do I do what Moses did or do I follow the example of the Israelites? I want to know how to complain without sinning. How about you?
Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said. (Numbers 11:1, NLT,*)
The Israelites were unhappy about everything. Especially, they wanted anything but manna to eat. They remembered the time in Egypt with such fondness you’d think slavery did not happen. The Israelites were complaining, whining, and grumbling. They were truly unhappy about their circumstances, they did not trust in God’s ability to take care of them (and that’s the underlying sin in it).
How about Moses then? He heard all that moaning and crying. Just like God Moses was not happy about it. What did he do then? He cried out to God. Moses poured out his feeling, his anger and disappointment to God and not to other people like the Israelites did. And guess who got the results? Moses did, of course.
Complaining never brings results. It tears down all the good that’s left and it even brings down the morale. We might insist we do not complain. Instead, we criticize, oppose or express our unhappy opinions. But, you see, they’re all just different forms of complaining
What should we do about complaining? Should we fake our feelings? No, of course not. But we should not go on and on about our frustrations and negative feelings or talk bad things behind other people’s backs. We need to learn to complain to God, not other people. That is the only way to complaining without sinning. We are called to fretting less by trusting God more.
Because God hears us and he has the power to act on our troubles. So whenever you want to unload your complaints, do so at the foot of the cross. You might think you can’t do so but Jesus knows all your troubles and wants to help you. And it starts with you being real, honest, and authentic.
When we bring our prayer rants to Jesus, we soon realize what’s real and what’s not. Just being heard and loved feels good. And knowing the ultimate good for us is on the way calms us and empowers us for waiting on God and his timing.
So let’s take our clues on complaining from Moses and not from the Israelites. Let’s stop whining and grumbling to other people and bring all our complaints and concerns to God instead. That’s the only way how to complain without sinning. And it brings results like none other.
Forgive us our habit of complaining,
sometimes we don’t even notice we’re doing it.
We want to do all things without grumbling,
but we need your help.
Show us it is safe to rant to you,
that you welcome our raw feelings and real struggles.
Create a clean heart in us, Lord.
Make us more like you.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Do you know how to complain without sinning? Do you practice it?
Blessings to you, my fellow pilgrim, as you struggle whether it’s pandemic-related or not! Just know God waits to hear from you and wants to help you!