Oh, wouldn't the world seem dull and flat with nothing whatever to grumble at? –W.S. Gilbert
You probably complained today. Admit it. This is certainly true if you drove on the 101 freeway, which was ranked as the worst freeway in the US. Complaining about the sad state of traffic and ungodly number of people driving around Los Angeles can help release a little steam. (Although I’m not convinced God will answer prayers for an obnoxious driver to receive a ticket or have his tires fall off.)
It’s very easy to complain. Not complaining seems anachronistic or unnatural. An old friend once remarked that we got along so well ‘because we hate the same things.’ Heck, some people have made a career out of it. The only problem is the Bible considers murmuring, or constant complaining, sinful.
What is biblical murmuring and why is it considered a sin? Murmuring is to continually disapprove and dwell on problems, or to be obstinate. It means you find fault, stubbornly voice displeasure, and generally disapprove of the bad way God is handling affairs. It is caused by hunger, fear, and ignorance. In short, it looks like the trolls you find on internet message boards.
Not all complaining is a sin. It’s important to distinguish between murmuring and complaining, of which there is no shortage in the bible. Look at most of the psalms, they read like a serious of grumpy letters to the editor. There is a place for complaints, especially if a solution is needed or genuine wrong needs to be righted. But if the solution is not perfect or corrected exactly as you would like it, don’t hold on to it and continue to murmur. If you constantly behave selfishly or negatively, sow discord, or don’t trust God’s plan, you’re probably murmuring, and it’s time to move on.
Here are a few examples of Biblical murmuring:
-Israelites suffering in the desert (Exodus 15,16. Numbers 14)
-Parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:11)
-Pharisees against Christ for eating with sinners (Luke 5:29-32)
In each of these examples they murmured because things weren’t as they thought they should be, and complained against God and His ways.
Everyone goes through valleys and eventually complains. There are some situations that if you didn’t whine, people might wonder about your sanity. But isn’t that a quality which should separate Christians from the world? Are we not called to be salt and light, behaving in such a way as to earn the respect of others? Wouldn’t outsiders be impressed if Christians were able to press on despite hardship and unfortunate luck? Are we not called to rejoice in all circumstances?
"Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world" (Phil. 2:14-15).
"Be hospitable to one another without grumbling" (1 Pet. 4:9).
"Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you" (Eph. 4:31-32).