Jesus said it only once: “Stop grumbling among yourselves.” It may surprise you that, when “grumble” or “grumbling” is used in the gospels, it is NOT used to refer to people complaining about the weather, other people, circumstances, etc. Rather, in the gospels these words are always used in reference to people complaining or finding fault with something Jesus said.
Don’t Grumble About What Jesus Said
I find that fascinating! When someone says to me, ‘Don’t grumble’, I think about complaining. To grumble is to complain verbally, under one’s breath, mumbling and muttering in discontent. This makes me think about complaining about the cold weather, the conditions at my job, or how someone treated me. However, in the Bible, the terms are not used for such trivial matters. Instead, they always refer to people complaining about what Jesus said.
Of course, not everyone grumbled about what Jesus said. Crowds were often amazed at Jesus’ teachings and the authority with which He taught (Matthew 7:28-29). However, others were offended rather than amazed. It appears this was because Jesus was not deemed as someone important enough to teach like this (John 6:41-42). Some of Jesus’ own disciples grumbled because they found Jesus’ teachings offensive and hard to accept (John 6:60-61). Many of these grumblers stopped following Jesus (John 6:66).
Grumbling Leads to Fumbling
Jesus said “Stop grumbling” because He knew it never leads to anything good. In the context of the referenced scripture, Jesus said it is particularly evil to grumble about something Jesus said! Words have power, and when we verbalize our negative opinions about what Jesus said, there can never be any blessing in that!
Jesus said not to grumble ”among yourselves” because negativity feeds on negativity, and we draw each other into sin by our shared grumbling. Of course, if we sincerely question or struggle with a teaching in the Bible, we can take it to God in prayer with an open mind and heart. We should be honest with God if we don’t particularly like or understand a teaching, but never grumble or complain about it to others. That just invites pride (self/ego), disbelief (lack of faith), and discontent (lack of gratitude) to grow in both yourself and in other people. When we grumble, we fumble in our walk with God, and cause others to do the same.
Like grumbling against God, grumbling against other people is evil. In fact, when we grumble against other people in the Church, we invite God’s judgment: “Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:9). The same principal applies to everything in our lives, no matter how trivial: how we were cut off in traffic, passed over for a promotion at work, or given poor service at a store. The idea that we need to ‘vent’ is a human concept, certainly not a godly one. Take it to God (in prayer), not to other people! If that sounds strange and awkward, it is just because we have not fully yielded to God in this area of our lives. What are we waiting for?
Call to Action
I am a reformed grumbler/complainer. God convicted me with Philippians 2:14-15: “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe…”. Compare this to 1 Corinthians 10:10, where it mentions that grumblers were killed by the destroying angel!
I don’t know about you, but I want to ‘shine’ like a star in God’s universe. Of course, I am still tempted to grumble and complain, but the temptation to sin is not the same as falling into the sin (see Jesus Said Hold to His Teaching and Be Set Free! posted July 25, 2014). Grumbling and complaining is simply a habit that can be changed.
It is certainly not difficult for an all knowing, all powerful God to change a human being that He created! The only requirement is that you NOT ‘try’ to do it yourself. Instead, humble yourself, admit you cannot change yourself, and seek God’s grace, in prayer, to heal and change you (James 4:6-10). Truly repent (verse 9) and petition God with a humble spirit. If you do, He will change you on the inside and lift you up (verse 10).
In faith, claim the promise and blessing in James 4:6-10, and share with me your results by posting a Comment below.