God's word in today's world

No grumbling

In the days of the Germanic tribes, when they wanted to complain, they went to holy stones to bemoan their fate there. In Christianity, people went to complain at the grave of a saint or an altar or even some stone statue.

This is about complaining a lot about things that bother you a lot. It’s much more than just expressing your dismay at another person’s way of doing and speaking. It’s when you are so upset, when things are going so badly, that the people would go to a saint to complain about their fate in the old days.

I thought it was only nowadays that people complain so much. But now I see this has been going on for a long time. It seems to me it’s become a national sport to complain. We complain about our children. We complain about our parents. We complain about our work. We complain about our country’s governance. And we complain about our friends who don’t want to do as we do. We complain.

Even the guys in James’ time complained, so much that he confronted them: 9Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner.

These words apply to most of us. We so easily open our mouths to complain about others and criticize them. Most of the time, it’s when what they do and say does not fit our way of doing and talking.

However, complaining like that is very negative. Complaining breaks others down. Complaining creates a winter climate where everyone feels cold. Complaining breaks down and does not build up. Complaining stops growth, and it limits people. Complaining is the handbrake that prevents people from reaching their full potential.

Here’s a challenge for all of us. If you can’t say something nice about someone else, then just keep your mouth shut. But we don’t get it right. We actually enjoy telling stories, especially about others.

Did you hear what this one or that one did again? Yes, you know, the children of today. I don’t actually know where they’ll end up, but it won’t be a good place. And then you add a twist to the story to make it even more juicy.

When the person being complained about hears these juicy, twisted stories, it breaks them down. The person is stunned at everything being said about them, and often, that is enough reason for that person to give up.

Let’s listen to this advice. Let’s make it part of our day and concentrate on not complaining. Let’s really try not to open our mouths if we can’t say something nice.

Remember, God is the only one who has enough wisdom to judge. So, when you want to complain, go to God instead and not to a stone. Leave your bag of complaints with Him and keep looking for the beauty in others. Everyone has a piece of it somewhere.

James 5:7-12

If you have to be honest, when are others tired of all your complaining?
How can you do it less?
How can you try to say only good things?

Father, I must confess that I often complain, especially about the people around me. I will heed the suggestion and try to say only positive things about others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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