Complaining is saying you are annoyed or not satisfied about something. It’s not productive because it brings negativity to the situation and is contagious – meaning, it often spreads to others who then join in. Sometimes we complain for attention or sympathy. We often use complaining to bring down others we are unhappy with. Complaining is also known as “grumbling” or “murmuring.”

There’s a wise saying: you can’t feel thankful and complain at the same time. The Israelites complained many times to Moses and Aaron when they should have been thankful to God for His many blessings. Because Moses was God’s representative, it was like they were complaining about God and insulting Him.

For example, the Israelites were treated very badly as slaves in Egypt. God chose Moses to safely lead them out. But when they were in the desert, (see Exodus 16:1) the people complained that they missed the food back in Egypt! God said He would rain down “bread from heaven.” (See Exodus 16:4) This special food was called “manna.” Exodus says it was white and tasted like wafers with honey. (See Exodus 16:31)

Later on, when the people were thirsty, they complained to Moses for water. They continually forgot God’s mercy towards them. Being hungry and thirsty is understandable, but the way the people complained about it showed that they did not have faith, patience or reverence. They were disrespectful to God and ungrateful to Moses and Aaron who were trying to lead them. 

As usual, the Bible gives us good advice. Philippians (2:14, NLT) says, “Do everything without complaining and arguing,…” Let’s remember this the next time our parents ask us to clean our rooms or help around the house! 1 Peter (4:9, Berean Study Bible) says, “Show hospitality to one another without complaining.”

So, what’s wrong with complaining? It’s unproductive, disrespectful to God, and sets our mood to be unthankful for what we DO have. If we are in a difficult situation, instead of complaining, we should pray to God, respectfully sharing our concern about it and look for solutions that would please Him. If we stay positive and focus on counting our blessings, we show God that we are respectful and thankful.

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