Posted by: Anne | September 30, 2011

what the Bible says about complaining

The word “complaining” means to express negative feelings of pain, displeasure, dissatisfaction, or resentment. Its synonyms are grouchy, grumble, to whine, gripe, bellyache and bitch. Its antonyms are to applause, be content, be happy, praise, approve.

Which camp do you fall in? Are you a grouchy, grumpy, and whiny person; or, are you content, happy and approving?

Numbers 11:1 says, “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; and the LORD heard it, and His anger was kindled …” God does not appreciate when His children are constantly murmuring and complaining about their life. Eventually He responds.

[T]he only thing that carping and whining accomplishes is to make us cynical, resentful and bitter human beings. It fosters the idea that we deserve to be treated better, we deserve more, and that we have earned the right to be treated special.

Constant complaining also loses focus on one very important truth: our God is good. He continues to bless us time and again, but a critical attitude – the epitome of ungratefulness – sees only the negative. It also shows that we don’t truly believe the promise of our good God: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV) Note that this verse doesn’t say that only good will happen, but that everything that happens is for our good.

God has a plan. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) He is at work in our lives. However, we have to be intentional in recognizing and believing God’s promises and then in responding accordingly. Unfortunately, once we start complaining, it has a way of snowballing until it blinds us to the many blessings we have. In that respect, the attitude could be seen as part of its own punishment.

We’ve got to learn how to shut down this grouchy attitude before it destroys our life.

The Effects of Constant Complaining

Numbers 14:1,2 says, “And all the congregation lifted up their voice and cried…. and murmured against Moses…. and said, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt; or would God we had died in this wilderness!”

The children of Israel failed to realize the negative impact that their constant complaining was having on their relationship with the Lord. Their lack of trust in the provision of God was now jeopardizing His plan for their lives.

So, in Numbers 14:26-34, God said unto them, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? ….As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you…. your carcasses, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander…. and ye shall know my breach of promise.” (Num. 14:26-34).

The phrase “my breach of promise” is only used once in the Word of God. It came about as the result of the congregation’s incessant murmuring and complaining. It comes from the Hebrew “tenuwah” which means alienation; and comes from a root word which means to refuse, to neutralize, dissuade, to make of none effect.

Murmuring and complaining neutralized the plan of God from coming to pass in their lives and prevented them from entering the promised land… Complaining will neutralize the power of God in your life as well. The blessings of God are sure, but they are not automatic.

You can fully believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; but if you don’t stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself, your negative words will neutralize the power of God in your life as well, making it of no effect.

To insist on being a negative, grouchy, grumpy and whining person will eventually cost you. You don’t have to be like the children of Israel; you can change your attitude on life. You can learn a new way of living, a new way of thinking. You can learn how to speak the Word of God in faith. You can learn God’s way of living.

Blockquoted paragraphs from Read the full article at the source:

See Also:
What the Bible says about complaining

Complaining Only Makes Things Worse


  1. I have been in situations where I have complained a lot before. I just thought that if I love God, I am always required to do stuff that frustrates and discourages me. I have heard preachers say “God never calls to be happy at all but to be solemnly joyful in all things.” It is the same thing as doing things that would ultimately destroy us. There are preachers out there that often would say “Erik, it is good that your frustrated. It is good that your are discouraged. How are you going to learn if you are not frustrated and/or discouraged.” I am not totally against being blessed and being happy but just been hearing a lot of bad sermons on complaining and some preachers taking Bible verses out of its context. I am not writing this to frustrate or discourage you but to let you know about all the bad teaching that is going on out there.

  2. Thank you for the comments, Erik – I had no idea that some people are teaching that it’s a good thing to be discouraged!

    Personally, I don’t necessarily equate complaining and discouragement. I think of a complainer as one who has attitude of dissatisfaction which manifests itself in a near-constant stream of negative talk. In this context, I think complaining is displeasing to God because such an attitude is like that of a spoiled child, declaring that the things, circumstances, etc. God has given are “not good enough.” If we truly have faith that God is in control of *everything,* and that he is good, and that he’s working all things for our good (even though, sure sometimes things can be bad for a while), then there should never be a reason for us to complain.

    On the other hand, some of those aforementioned bad things can cause us to be discouraged. I mean, sure: bad things are just that, bad! And they can easily catch us off guard and bring us down. However, the church leaders that I hear always remind me – based on what the Bible repeatedly says – that the antidote to discouragement is the same as the one for complaining: remember that God is in control, and whatever circumstances we find ourselves in will serve a purpose, such as growing our faith. Our job is to wait and watch, hopefully expectant that God will work, as he has promised. As it says in Psalm 27:14 – “Wait on the Lord: Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.”

    My reply here was somewhat quickly typed, but maybe it will provide some food for thought…? Your comment certainly opened my eyes to a view that I never would have expected from someone promoting faith in God. Thank you again for writing!

  3. A few more comments. (Yes, your post really has me thinking about this!)

    * Looking at that verse from Psalms again – “Be of good courage” – it sure doesn’t sound like God wants us to be DIScouraged.

    * At the moment, the closest Bible commands I can think of, that tell us to feel bad are all about weeping or being sad about our sins… but that is so that we will then move to repent of those sins and then God, through Jesus, forgives us and restores us back to working all things for our good. 🙂

    * I’ve been meaning to add the link to Billy Graham’s website to this site, and after learning that people are out there preaching discouragement, this seems like the perfect time for me to complete that task.

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