Rejoice in the Rose

Complete the following statement: “Where two or three are gathered…”

THE GRUMBLING STARTS.

When asked about particular challenges in their lives, folks around here sometimes say, “I could complain about it, but it wouldn’t do me any good.”

And yet, grumbling and complaining, the case can be made, is the national pastime. Not a day goes by that I do not grumble about something or someone — the weather, my joints, traffic (those OTHER drivers!), spam e-mail, the government, and, of course, negative people who grumble too much.

Where do we go to find a grumble-free zone? And would we be welcome there?

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God’s Word consistently, continually, and emphatically takes issue with complaining, murmuring, and assorted grumbling.

Shortly after the Exodus, their deliverance from generations of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites actually offer this complaint against their leaders Moses and Aaron: “If only we had died back in Egypt, at least we had enough to eat and drink there!”

The result of all their complaining in the wilderness? God grants them an extended stay — 40 years — IN THE WILDERNESS and plenty of time for more complaining!

Jesus has a quick response when self-righteous religious leaders complain that he is sharing fellowship with tax collectors and other sinners: God sent me here to help these very folks. That shuts their mouths, at least for the moment.

God’s Word exhorts the Christian community to cut out negativity:

Let no evil talk come out of your mouth, but only what is useful for building up… so that your words may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29)

Do all things without murmuring and arguing… (Philppians 2:14)

But now you must get rid of… — anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth (Colossians 3:8)

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt… (Colossians 4:6)

The apostle James puts it strongly: “Beloved, do not grumble against on another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors!”

It occurs to me that while there is unending praise in God’s presence, there is probably not a complaint department.

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