I’m a complainer. I’m not proud of it. In fact, I know Holy Spirit is convicting me of this very sin. This is the reason for my confession. How do I know complaining is a sin? The Bible documents how complaining really angers God. For instance:
Numbers 11:1 (NLT)
“Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said. Then the Lord’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp.”
The Bible is clear that God takes complaining very seriously.
The topics for complaining are infinite but one of the favorite topics to complain about seems to be the church. I am guilty of this and I want to share my confession and some of the counsel Holy Spirit has provided through this conviction.
I know that churches can be ugly places. I know that church people can be ugly to others. I know that groups of church people can begin to focus on real estate instead of souls, personal preferences as tests of fellowship, and even FIGHT one another to keep traditions that were originally adopted to honor the King of peace. I know that church people can be prideful. I know that church people can be racist, prejudiced, judgmental, gossips, stingy and politically divided (I hope you can see the irony in these examples).
I acknowledge all of this but I am not going to complain about it because I acknowledge something else also.
I know that churches can be beautiful places. I know that forgiven people can be beautiful. I know that church people can focus and see that all people are people whom God loves and sent His Son Jesus to forgive. I know that forgiven people can put personal preferences to the side and unite in working to build The Kingdom of God. I know forgiven people can recognize Jesus is The Way, The Truth, The Life and not rely on traditions to be valued above Jesus, or other people. I know that forgiven people can be humble, gracious and generous. I know that forgiven people renounce their racism, prejudice, judgment, malicious gossip and can love others they don’t agree with.
I know this is true because I know that people who surrender to Jesus are forgiven and He transforms them into His own beautiful image. I know this because I have witnessed people learn to love one another as they have grown towards maturity in Christ. I know this because even though there have been generations of people with faith in Christ before me that Jesus has never left or forsaken His church or His forgiven imperfect people. He still builds His church through fallible forgiven. We stand on the back of imperfect forgiven saints. This is praiseworthy!
The church may not always meet “my expectation” but the church, at least the one made of people who have surrendered to Jesus for forgiveness, is Jesus’ body delivering the Gospel.
We stand on the backs of Saints who have went before us.
Quit complaining and choose to be thankful that He has continued to use us.