Sunday, January 11, 2015

Complaining Rights

Complaining Rights
January 12, 2015
Jonah 4:9  "But God said to Jonah, 'Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?'"

Complaining is so easily observed in others, but not so easily seen in ourselves.  We notice, without hesitation, when someone around us is stating his or her dissatisfaction with the current situation.  The person who complains constantly is labeled as being negative, a downer.  I know some of those people and I'm sure I've been labeled as such, at one point in my life.  I would bet each of us has gone through a season of constant complaints.  Once we start complaining, it is hard to jump out of that downward spiral, but it happens; we all complain.  While we know it isn't the best thing to do in life, is it a sin to complain?

The Bible is very clear that we SHOULD do everything without complaining or grumbling.  If you review every book of the Bible, though, you'll witness complaining going on, a grumbling dissatisfied recipient of The Father's love.  That's the correct label if you'd like to get technical about it.  We've all received the Lord's love and when we complain we are simply being a dissatisfied and grumbling recipient of that love.  Since the beginning of time with Cain and Able, man has been complaining.  Moses complained, the Israelites complained, King David complained, the apostles complained.  If everyone's doing it, is it still wrong; is it a sin?  Actually, if you read the account of Job, the Bible says he complained, stated his dissatisfaction with the situation, but did not sin.  So, there is an opportunity to express dissatisfaction without sinning, but there is also a line that shouldn't be crossed.  It was said of Job that he never sinned by charging the Lord with wrongdoing.

The prophet Jonah complained; he expressed dissatisfaction with the situation when his personal shade tree had withered up.  Jonah got hot in the summer sun and couldn't take the heat any longer.  He got angry and complained about it.  The Lord asked him if he had any right at all to complain to the point of anger.  Jonah told the Lord, unequivocally, "Yes!"  The Lord had caused the shade tree to grow up over Jonah and the Lord provided the worm to eat the roots of the shade tree, yet Jonah still believed he had a right to his complaint.  Not even Job, who was upright and blameless, got away with his complaint.  The Lord told Job he had no idea what the Lord was thinking, therefore didn't have a leg to stand on about his complaint with the situation.  Job wasn't as bold to talk back to God as Jonah was.  But you and I are more like Jonah; we are willing to talk back to God about our situation, believing we have every right to complain to the point of being angry.  The Lord would disagree.

Your complaint in life, and I'm sure you have one or two, is an effort to believe the Lord is not doing His job with correctness, fairness, or justice.  When you cross the line and actually get angry with Him, like Jonah, you are sinning.  I've clearly sinned once or twice in my life and you probably have, too.  The trick is to figure out a way to express your dissatisfaction only to the point of realizing how silly you are to actually complain.  When Job complained, the Lord corrected Him.  You and I can read from others in Scripture and realize our situation is really not cause for complaint if we trust in the Lord's sovereignty.  The Lord is in charge of your life and to charge Him with wrongdoing for how things have turned out in your life is not something I'd recommend.  Turning our complaint into praise is the next step.  We can all praise the Lord for something good in our lives.  Jonah didn't thank the Lord for growing the shade tree; he took it for granted.  Job didn't constantly thank the Lord for all those years of blessing; he figured it would always be that way.  Learn to praise the Lord when times are good, so when they're bad, you can still praise Him for when the times WERE good.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Job 1:22, Job 2:10, Job 33, Jonah 4, Phil 2:14

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