“Do not complain, brethren against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold the judge is standing right at the door.” – James 5:9
“The tongue is a fire…” – James 3:6
The tongue is a “restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing an cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.” – James 3:8-10
While the context of these verses follows the divisive complaining behind James 3:1 – James 4:12, the ‘Do not complain’ verse has definitely been a convicting reminder to me in recent days. Grumbling and complaining are behaviors that express my impatience and discontent during emotionally painful times when I just seem to explode in frustration at another.
In the years of processing my own behavior (it’s an hourly job each day, trust me), I have come to realize that my emotions are easily influenced by those around me. When I read, hear, or watch another make a point, my mind assesses and determines how I will respond.
Once offended, my knee-jerk response is to stomp my foot, throw the yellow flag on the field and scream, “Foul!”
Yet for me – an avoider of conflict, I retreat. I pull the emotional fire inside me. The murmuring and complaining under my breath begins and soon begins to simmer into a loathing stew of the one’s behavior that dared choose that which I’ve seen done.
Murmuring and complaining is a poison that can become quite deadly to my spirit. And if we’re all honest, complaining is a troubled behavior for all of us.
As a Christian, I have read the Bible many times over the years, and I believe the Word when I am told that I will stand before God one day. My sins are already covered by Jesus. Yet, I will stand before God to face His assessment of the righteous and holy ways He has ordered me to live, to walk, to work, to serve using my talents. And in that judgment, my grumbling and complaining will be recognized even when I may have felt I was completely justified in taking that platform in my position.
The conviction for me of James 5:9 forces me to remember that I can control my behavior. I must control my behavior. I cannot control another’s actions. I am unable to manipulate his choice. I do not have the means to sway his decision. But, I can definitely take control of my own responses and then act accordingly as God would have me to respond, and that does NOT include murmuring or complaining.
God does not.
I must be reminded to focus on the Lord and not the circumstance.
My hope, the core of my hope, must be on God.
As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.