SPRINGFIELD, MO. ––
Have you ever sat through a meal with a chronic complainer? After a while
the incessant whining nearly ruins your appetite. Subconsciously, your eyes
begin to flit between your watch and the restaurant’s exit sign as you
plot your escape.
If you’ve endured
a similar experience, you can empathize with Moses and his 40
years in the wilderness. He must have contemplated going AWOL
when the Children of Israel — between bites of manna —
complained about everything from the accommodations to
the dinner menu.
But, in Numbers 11:1-14, we find
their grumbling was a symptom of a spiritual problem: The Children of Israel
had lost faith in God’s promises; they had forgotten His power.
Some believers today are chronic
complainers. Their faith in God’s promises and power has waned, and
criticism and complaint have become a form of self-entertainment. Unknowingly
they bring harm to their home, their church and themselves.
At one time or another, everyone
complains and vents frustrations. But if a friend or family member displays
an ongoing critical and complaining spirit, the appropriate response is not
to run for an exit sign or to nod agreeably. Instead, may God help us speak
the following in love:
“Second Timothy 1:7 says,
‘For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power,
of love and of self-discipline’ (NIV). So, I’m going to pray that
God increases your joy and gives you the faith to believe that He can take
care of every situation. Because He wants you to live more abundantly.”
Sure, it might be a while before
your friend invites you to dinner again, but that’s a small
price to pay if he or she rediscovers what it means to trust God.
— Hal Donaldson
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