I would like to preface this article with a simple notion: not all complaining is bad. If a school-bus driver speeds in your neighborhood then there is a reason to complain. If you find a hair in your food at a restaurant, for the safety of others there is a reason to complain. If you are in great pain and are asked what level your discomfort is, you should complain about the pain in order to get the right treatment. Again, I repeat, not all complaining is bad. There are some complaints that are legitimate, but there is a vast difference between legitimate complaining and lifestyle complaining.
Legitimate complaining is isolated and typically spoken for the benefit and safety of others. Lifestyle complaining is complaining at all times in all situations.
Lifestyle complainers complain about the weather whether it is sunshine or rain. They complain about the traffic whether it is congested or light. They complain about their family whether they live out of state or next door. They complain about church whether it is loud and long or short and boring. They complain about the boss whether he is too strict or too lenient. Lifestyle complainers find something to complain about regardless the situation. Do you know a lifestyle complainer? Are YOU a lifestyle complainer?
There are three characteristics of lifestyle complainers that I have discovered throughout my ministry:
1. Lifestyle Complainers have Little Appreciation
Complainers rarely find the good in anything. They seldom say “Thank you” or express their appreciation to anyone. Lifestyle complainers rarely confess their faults. They almost always blame other people for their grievances. This is rooted in a lack of appreciation for God, life, and others. If you are a chronic complainer, take some time and simply say “Thanks” to the gifts and blessings of God. Stop trying to figure out if the glass is half-full, or half-empty, just be thankful you have something in the glass!
2. Lifestyle Complainers have Lacking Accommodations
What I mean is that they feel as though they are being treated unfairly. Lifestyle Complainers usually express their negativity when things are not going their way. They feel as though life has dealt them a bad hand. Their pessimism is rooted in selfishness. They are only able to see the world from their own perspective, and rarely see how others are affected. Much like the children of Israel they always complain when their accommodations are sparse, and find it difficult to look on the bright side of life. This is actually a trust issue- they fail to properly trust God when hard times come.
3. Lifestyle Complainers have Limited Awareness
Their insecurities derive from their lack of vision and foresight. Because they do not trust in the Lord properly they fail to see how God uses everything for their good. There have been times in my own ministry when I complained about certain people and their lack of support for what I wanted to do. What I failed to understand is that God was using those people to develop my leadership skills. Going back to the children of Israel; God not only led them out of Egypt to deliver them , but to also develop them. He had water in a rock for them to drink, but they didn’t know. He had bread prepared from heaven, but they didn’t see it. He was leading them to a land of milk and honey, but their vision was skewed. Therefore, they murmured and complained because of their inability to see up ahead. Lifestyle complainers rarely have a vision for their life. They only see the here and now and give little thought to what God is trying to do for them up ahead.