PC-USA 1997-04-10 - Whining

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First let me say right off the bat, yes I myself have been guilty of this! And I have seen some ridiculous examples. When I worked in the front office of our church, someone actually called our Senior Minister--who was VERY busy -- booked a year ahead, did an incredible amount of counseling etc. -- to complain that her Diet Coke from our machine wasn't any good! Whining has been around a long time. The Israelites had it honed to a fine art. They whined about thirst (Ex. 17:2-3). They whined about hunger (Ex. 16:2-3). Then when God provided manna, they whined about the manna, too! (Num. 11:6). But when we look at Paul's reminder of what happened to them, we see that God's word is pretty clear about how He feels about our complaining:

1 Cor 10:10 (NIV) And do not grumble, as some of them did--and were killed by the destroying angel.

We get off easily with our grumbling, eh? ; ) Rather than complain about people and circumstances, we are to use our words to make things better, and to build people up:

1 Th 5:11 (NIV) Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Think with me if you will, about your everyday words. What words do you hear coming from your mouth? When you speak to or about your family, your co-workers, your fellow church members, or circumstances you are in, are you saying things that are edifying? Are you encouraging, strengthening, lifting up people? Or are you fault-finding? My mother had a saying -- not original with her, but I think it has some merit -- "If you can't say anything good about someone, don't say anything at all." I am all for honesty and openness; one-on-one, relationships can be strengthened in the long-run, by speaking the truth in love. We are to go to our brother or sister and straighten things out. And we all need to ventilate sometimes. It is Biblical to share our pains with each other. Sharing our pain with someone who cares, or using someone as a sounding board is one thing; gossiping or grumbling is altogether different.

Dear Father, please help us with our words. Use our words to share the Gospel and to minister to people. In Jesus' name, amen.