Certain sins––like murder, burglary, adultery––are like driving a backhoe through the center of your house. Other sins are like starting a termite colony behind the drywall. The destructive reality of some sin is visible immediately, to everyone watching. The other is just delayed destruction, but destruction nonetheless.
One such termite is that of a complaining spirit. When we read Paul’s description of man’s depravity in Romans 1 what often stands out is the big letter sins of idolatry, sodomy, murder, deceit, and other vile sins. However, this depravity stems from failing to give God the glory and plain ol’ ingratitude. “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful (Rom. 1:21).”
Complaining is so common a sin, and one that doesn’t seem to cause any damage, and so we treat it as though it isn’t one. God gives some blessing, and we complain that it came in the wrong color, size, or brand. God brings a suitor to a young women, and she complains that he’s under 6’ tall. God brings a host of new saints to our town, and grumbles about housing prices arise. You have some ongoing ailment, and you moan about how all the bad stuff seems to happen to you.
Each time you indulge complaining it’s like allowing termites to reduce the framing to sawdust. Complaining is praying to the wrong god. The Complainer refuses to take his burdens to the only One who can do something about the circumstances. The remedy to all this is to first cast all your cares, every last one, on the Lord. Followed by recounting the blessings He’s given, thanking Him for each one. After this, consider what folly it is to entrust those cares into anyone else’s hands, your own included.
When we indulge secret sins, such as a complaining spirit, we pave the way for great transgressions. The twin errors found in complaining are that we fail to give God the glory by entrusting all our cares into His sovereign hands, and we demonstrate ingratitude for all the good things He’s bestowed. Repentance for this spirit of complaining acknowledges the pride of thinking we see our circumstances clearer than God does; for the ingratitude at the heart of all our complaints. May God grant that we recognize the destruction of letting such “termites” gnaw away at the framing of our lives by complaining to ourselves and others instead of first bringing all our petitions to God, as our good and gracious Father. Complaining is like drinking water out of a Florida swamp, and then being off-put by the taste. So, very simply, stop drawing your water from that well, and draw it from the well of salvation, from which springs joy in all circumstances because of this good news of Jesus Christ.