All too often when adversity comes, the first impulse is to scream and yell. Whine and cry. Protest and complain. It’s human nature to get upset when things don’t go our way. We seek out an sympathetic ear.
Most people believe that venting frustrations is healthy. And truthfully, sometimes it does feel good to release stress to someone who understands. However, what we forget is that complaining breeds discontent, which is probably why God tells us not to do it (Philippians 2:14).
And even well-meaning Christians can encourage us to hold onto issues that are better left alone. They understand our perspective and feel bad that we are put in situations that cause us stress. They give us platitudes and condemn the other people involved for wronging us. Isn’t that what a good friend does – takes our side on the issue?
Actually, there shouldn’t even be sides. Rather than choosing to be offended, we must choose to let God handle the situation. We must choose to see the best in people, to believe that they had good intentions and that God is working in their heart even if we can’t see it at the moment. We must choose not to dwell on the little things that irritate us. Give others grace to make mistakes.
And God can help us, if we turn to Him. Our prayer can’t be “Lord, fix this,” but rather “Lord, how do You want me to respond? What do You want me to learn from this? How can I be useful in spreading Your love around me rather than focusing on how I’ve been wronged?”
I spent too many years grumbling and venting when things didn’t go my way. Slowly over time I learned how destructive that behavior was, to me and to others. Now, I try to take everything to the Lord in prayer, no matter how trivial.
When you’re tempted to complain, stop and ask yourself: Did you pray about that?