Conflicts can begin by our complaining. I read an article about a woman who had gone to coffee with a group of young mothers. The mothers’ conversations drifted from catching up to complaining. The woman who wrote this article had one child, and listened quietly and sympathetically to their complaints. She wrote, “It’s not that I didn’t have complaints of my own, but I didn’t feel qualified to throw mine in.” One of the women turned to her and said, “This must sound awful to you. I bet this makes you never want to have more one child.” The woman who wrote this article hadn’t been thinking that at all. She had been silent because she couldn’t relate to their complaining. Their complaining had made her feel like an outsider.
WHY DO WE COMPLAIN?
· We complain because it gives us an opportunity to feel understood.
· We complain sometimes because it makes us feel included. Things that hadn’t bothered us before, we simply wanted to be included in conversation.
· We complain because it keeps us from taking action. It gives us an excuse to procrastinate and keeps us from achieving goals. It’s easier to complain than to find a solution to our problems.
· We complain because it helps us avoid responsibility. We arrive late somewhere…we complain that traffic was terrible or the line at the pharmacy was long. We usually don’t say, “Sorry I’m late, I should have left earlier.”
· We complain because it’s a way to express discontent about our current situations.
· We complain because it gives us a way to express our stress.
· We complain because we feel that we have been disrespected. We all desire to be treated with respect. We want to know that others respect us.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE COMPLAIN?
· It shows that we don’t trust the Lord. (Think of the Israelites) They complained and wanted to go back to Egypt (Exodus 16:1-10)…the whole congregation murmured against Moses and Aaron…and said, “Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt…you have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill all of us with hunger. In the pressure of the moment, they could not focus on the cause of their stress (their lack of trust in God) they only thought about a way to escape their present circumstance.
· It harms other members. If other people know that our members constantly complain and gossip, they get a false impression of Christ and the church.
· It negatively affects our relationships. Complainers spread their negativity to others and spread feelings of dissatisfaction to many others. Entire groups can get into a complaint spiral.
· It shows that we are not thankful and focuses our attention away from what God has done for us onto what we don’t have. The Israelites had forgotten all of the things that God had done for them and the conditions of Egyptian slavery.
· It increases our stress and impacts our health, mood and behavior. Research has demonstrated that stress leads to insomnia, chest pain, overeating, muscle pain, anxiety, depression, headaches, stomach upset, outbursts of anger, and drug or alcohol abuse.
TO GET OVER COMPAINING WE MUST STOP DWELLING ON THINGS WE CAN’T CONTROL OR CHANGE!!
1. We are not going to live forever. Although we must take care of ourselves, we shouldn’t live in constant fear or get paranoid about this fact.
2. We can’t please everyone. Trying to make everyone happy will leave us drained and miserable.
3. We will never catch up to the Joneses. We will always know someone with a nicer car, or bigger house. We must be satisfied with what God provides.
4. We can’t control what someone else thinks of us or change their minds. It is impossible to make someone like, love, or forgive us, if that person has a closed mind and is not willing to give us respect.
5. Yesterday is over and we can’t get it back. We must stop dwelling on our past…we can’t change it.
6. Keep our thoughts positive. Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
7. Adapt to changes around us. In every moment, many things are happening, but complaining arrows our focus on small petty things of reality. It can keep us from experiencing and appreciating the good that is happening. Consistent complaining acts like a filter that keeps us from seeing things around us that can bring us happiness and joy.
8. Avoid judging others. Sometimes we complain about something somebody has done to us without knowing their whole story. Most of the time, we judge others for no reason and we make the situation even worse. Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
9. Set an example for those around us. Philippians 2:14-15 Do all things without murmurings and disputing…why? That we maybe blameless and harmless…in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
10. Appreciate the people around us. A person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. We should appreciate good people…they are hard to come by.
Although most of us want to run away from our circumstance, we must learn to focus on God’s power and wisdom to help us deal with our stresses. We need to learn to take our problems to the only One who can do something about them.
The Bible says in (Philippians 4:6-7) “be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.