Cutting the Nerve of Complaining

Nobody likes a complainer. And yet most of us find ourselves complaining on a fairly regular basis. My stint in the Midwest elicited daily shrieks of complaint at the frigid January wind. "Who on earth decided to establish a major city in this wretched climate," I would rant to the nearest cringing ear.

The fact is, most of our complaining stems from a faulty sense of entitlement. We all have long lists of things we think we deserve. When everything that we "deserve" doesn't fall in our laps, we complain. We view ourselves as the injured party who has every right to grumble. Work is stressful, we don't feel like we deserve that. We have relational problems, we don't feel like we deserve that either. And apparently I felt like I deserved sunny skies and 70 degrees in the middle of a Chicago winter.

The gospel makes it clear that all we deserve is hell. God created us. Therefore he owns us, and we owe him our complete allegiance and gratitude. But we rebelled. We wave him off as unimportant even as we revel in his blessings every day, living in warm houses, eating delicious food, and enjoying the company of loved ones.

The beauty of the gospel is getting what we don't deserve. We have mercy instead of justice, salvation instead of damnation. Even on our worst days we are doing infinitely better than we deserve. When we complain, we are telling God that this incredible grace isn't enough.

In order to cut complaining out of our lives, we should actively savor and apply the gospel. We must adopt an attitude of deep thankfulness. Let's remember the incredible grace and blessing we have received in light of our utter depravity. We really could not ask for more.

From The Greener Grass Conspiracy by Stephen Altrogge.

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