When talking with a brother recently, I was caused to reflect upon a time when I was overly generous with my complaints about a certain situation. Though the complaints were not about him, I wanted to apologise for making a difficult time in his life even harder. His response was more than gracious. He felt that my complaints had been fair and that lessons had been learned in keeping with God’s providence.
At the time I felt that my ‘persistent negative commentary’ was in fact ‘consistent and concerned counselling.’ Looking back on it I wonder if the best thing I could have done was to have excused myself from the whole situation; a point my brother disagreed with.
When people are unhappy, they express it. It is when that unhappiness issues forth as ‘persistent negative commentary’ that action must be taken.
Of course, the best person to knock down a Wall of Complaints is the builder. But this can be made harder because every Wall of Complaints attracts volunteer labour. Its hard to down-tools when others are joining in.
Every now and then I hear brethren suggest that their corner of the Lord’s church would do well to have some form of a Complaints Department. Scripture leaves nothing to the imagination on this point:
*If there is a legitimate complaint, as in the daily food supply to the Grecian widows being neglected (Acts 6:1), then fix it!
*“If one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other” (Colossians 3:13).
*”Do not complain…against one another, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door” (James 5:9).
*God told the Israelites that their complaining against Him would result in everyone over the age of twenty dying in the desert (Numbers 14).
*And to sum it up: ”Do all things without complaining” (Philippians 2:14).