Years ago, I had the privilege of teaching the Lydia Class in Sunday School. This was a lovely group of senior women whose ages ranged from 75 to 85 and beyond. I remember being very excited to teach them but at the same time a bit anxious about just what I could possibly teach them, after all, I was in my thirties! When I received the material to use for the class, I was surprised to read the topic for the first lesson, adultery. Really? For the Lydia class?!
Sunday came, we all got settled into our little classroom, opened with prayer and as soon as I got the word amen out of my mouth, one of the sweet little ladies spoke up. “Patti” she began, “we thought we would set your mind at ease about today’s lesson and let you know that we all agree that we’ve pretty much handled the adultery thing!” We all laughed and I quickly responded, “I am so happy to hear that you don’t have a problem with sexual immorality now that you are 80, but y’all there’s a second part to the lesson, how are you with… murmuring?” Suddenly, it was very quiet.
Sometimes we get to a point in our lives where we have conquered a certain sin or two but then there are other sins that are a bit harder to give up. The murmuring, complaining, and grumbling that we all are guilty of from time to time, that one, is a bit harder to stop. The Israelites were known throughout Scripture as a people who murmured and complained and God dealt with them sternly. Grumbling was one of the sins they committed which caused them to wander the desert. Complaining may not sound like a serious sin to us but God takes it very seriously.
In Philippians 2:14-15, Paul implores the people, “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…” He wrote this around the year 61 AD, the world was crooked and depraved then, too. It was no harder for them to stop complaining than it is for us now, but He still wants us to stop, He still wants us blameless and pure.
Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” We need to cut out the murmuring and complaining and take responsibility for our conversations, because they do ‘depend on us’ in order to have a peaceful outcome. I know, we can only be responsible for our part of a conversation, but I’m guessing we all could work a bit harder at removing the complaining and griping that is so very easy to fall into.
Join me in a challenge. Let’s pray that God will show each of us when we are about to murmur and complain, and ask Him to help us stop before we start. Before long it may very well be a sin we get to call ‘handled’.