Words spoken by Moses to the Israelites as they started their journey for the Promised Land:  “…He (God) has heard your complaints, which are against the Lord and not against us…Yes, your complaints are against the Lord, not against us (Moses and Aaron).”   Exodus 16:7-8

Our Senior Pastor, Dr. Terry Moore, based his sermon today on the grumbling and complaining of the Israelites and God’s provisions in response to their cries.  The scriptures were taken from Chapter 16 of Exodus. 

Dr. Moore gave many notable lessons, but the verses that jumped out at me were Exodus 16:7 and 16:8, where Moses responds to the peoples’ complaints and tells them that they’re not really complaining to Moses and Aaron.  They’re complaining to God!  

I’d already highlighted these verses from previous studies, but evidently I’d forgotten what I’d learned because I complain a lot – not to GOD, of course! – but to my husband, my children, friends, acquaintances, and sometimes even strangers I meet in public.  Then there are the unspoken complaints that I think I’m keeping to myself, but the truth is that God knows our thoughts, so He knows my silent complaints, too.  OMGosh!  He’s been hearing a lot of complaints from me!

Please don’t get me wrong…I’m not a chronic complainer!  For the most part I’m a postive and cheerful person.  Yet, I still have negative thoughts and say negative things about others, situations, current events, and whatever seems wrong to me. 

When I complain about others, do I complain to them?  Usually not.  Usually I complain about them, but not to them. 

If I wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, I shouldn’t say it at all.  The same goes for complaints to God… and thanks to the noted verses in Exodus, I realize that’s just what I’ve been doing!  I’ve been saying things to others that I wouldn’t say to Him. Why wouldn’t I say them directly to God?  Probably because they’re too petty, or complaining to God would expose traits about me that I wouldn’t want Him to see.  You know, traits like self-centeredness, selfishness, childishness, being a martyr, and worst of all unChristian-like thoughts and behaviors. 

Now I realize all those things HAVE been exposed about me because when I’ve complained to others, I’ve actually been complaining to God!

So what do I do?  STOP COMPLAINING!  And here are three things I’ll do to help myself stop: 

1) Start living by this rule:  If I can’t say it to His face, don’t say it at all.

2) Turn my ungodly thoughts around with a Christian approach.  Instead of whining and complaining, I need to pose my thoughts as concerns for God and seek His help, guidance and wisdom regarding my concerns. 

3) Apply the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer by changing the things I can (instead of just complaining about them), and seeking the grace from God to accept the things I cannot change and trusting Him with these matters, instead. 

Dear God, I am SO sorry for the years of complaining I’ve done!  Much of it has been unnecessary, petty, childish, and has surely been tiresome and frustrating for you to hear!  Please help me to handle negative thoughts and situations in better ways – ways that display better faith and Christain living, and in ways that will be pleasing and glorifying to You.  Amen.