“Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
The subject of complaining has been on my heart lately. It is an easy trap and a very acceptable form of conversation. I found myself complaining and was not even really aware of it…until now. Every unacceptable word spoken or thought seems to be highlighted. It has been brought to my attention and now I am responsible as to what I will do. My choices are to keep complaining or to stop. I have chosen to stop because these words are not acceptable to our Lord. I am fully aware that I will mess up, but my hearts desire is to honor the Lord with my spoken, written and thought words. I will remember, “He who guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” (Proverbs 21:23).
If we go back to the book of Numbers, we can read how serious this sin is to the Lord. “Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1). The people of Israel complained about lack of water, food choices and leadership. It can start so small and quickly spread. And like the Israelites, other people can influence our thoughts and then we find ourselves speaking the same complaints. In fact, it was the “mixed multitude” that complained among the Israelites about the food they remembered back in Egypt. Before long others had joined in and began to crave the rich foods too. God heard this complaint as well. He sent quail in response, but He also sent a plague that killed those who had yielded. If God was this serious about complaining then, has His mind changed? Perhaps with the media constantly updating us on this Coronavirus, may it serve as a reminder as how quickly things can spread when given air.
When I read the words the Lord spoke through Solomon and look back at the account with the Israelites, I am convinced of the seriousness of complaining. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21). For me, I am choosing life. I am choosing to speak truth and thanksgiving. There is much to praise the Lord for today and I will focus on Him. With my eyes and heart turned towards Him, praise and thanksgiving will be my response. And when you hear people talking about what they have given up for the season of Lent, maybe we could consider giving up complaining. The good news is instead of being without because we have given something up, we can be filled with life and eat its fruit. Whose with me today?
“Indeed we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body…even so the tongue is a little member boasts great things…The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body…” (James 3:3-6)