“Do all things without grumbling.” Philippians 2:14 NAS
“There is a high price to pay socially and spiritually for the self-indulgence of grumbling.”
My thoughts today are about “unhappy, unholy sounds.”
Okay, I confess I am fascinated by words. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Cook, gave me a love for the unique beauty of words. Have you ever thought of all the interesting English words that describe some form of vocal happiness – like laugh, giggle, chuckle, cackle, or snicker? My favorites are chortle and guffaw; the first a kind of pleasant amusement while the latter is loud and sudden. A laugh of any kind is contagious, prompting more laughter on the part of others.
But consider the word, grumble. I think grumbling is usually contagious and habit forming too, and that is not for your good or anyone else’s. You can almost hear the word’s meaning in its sound as you say it. Grumbling is just what it sounds like, an unhappy, unpleasant sound when displeasure with something, or more often someone, makes you mutter under your breath something less than pleasant words. You may not be saying much, but you are fully understood by all who hear the sound.
The Bible tells of the time that Israel “murmured in their tents,” and infected their family and friends with their attitude of complaint. God considered that distrust and disbelief and judged them accordingly. Deuteronomy 1:26-28 NIV/Psalm 106:25. The result was that their generation was not allowed to enter Canaan, the place of promised and abundant blessings. Grumbling is both an unhappy, and unholy sound. As I read the many Bible verses, I noticed that it is always murmuring against someone, ultimately against God. Complaint is not just your harmless opinion, but also a subtle attack on the human spirit, hurting you and others.
Might grumbling and complaint distract you from entering into the fullness of life and blessing that God desires to give you? That would be a high price to pay for the brief self-indulgence of murmuring. Of all the things the Bible warns against their corrosive effect, is grumbling worth mentioning? Apparently, God thinks so. Other Bible translations describe Israel’s actions as “grumbling and complaining.”
Do you ever complain? I guess everyone does at some time, but that does not make it right, does it? Complaining should be a warning to check your heart, and mind your mouth – to prevent sinning. Psalm 19:12-14 NIV. Grumbling and complaining only foster more grumbling and complaint. Once you start, it is not easy to stop. You grumble about one thing and after a while you can find plenty of things about which to complain. Unhappiness tempts you to grumble, but grumbling only makes you more unhappy – and everyone else unhappy to be around you.
I think my grandmother had the best advice, “If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything at all.” Grumbling, at its best, is temporary ingratitude, and that’s not a very good thing at all. When tempted to grumble about something, count your blessings instead. However inconvenient or frustrating the moment, you have so much else for which to be thankful. “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT. You have more for which to be thankful, than to complain.
My prayer for you today is: be thankful and happy; don’t grumble! It doesn’t sound good.