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Posts Tagged ‘complaining in the church’

What’s the Number One Sin among churchgoers today?

Missing your quiet time?

Failing to attend worship services?

Neglecting to tithe?

Let me offer a candidate: complaining.

While re-reading the Book of Exodus, I’ve been struck by the never-ending parade of griping, whining, and grumbling that the Israelites did.

*They complained when Pharaoh’s slave drivers made Israel gather straw to make bricks (Exodus 5:19-21).

*They complained right before God miraculously delivered them from Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:10-12).

*They complained when they came to Marah and the waters were bitter (Exodus 15:22-24).

*They complained in the Desert of Sin because they didn’t have any food (Exodus 16:1-3).

*They complained at Rephidim because they had no water (Exodus 17:1-3).

And that doesn’t count all the complaining they did in the Book of Numbers … chapter after chapter of angry, discontented, ungrateful people.

And God hates complaining.

Why?

Let me offer three reasons:

First, complaining demonstrates a lack of faith in God.

Even though God:

*delivered Israel from the Egyptians, Israel still wanted to return there.

*purified the waters at Marah, the people later complained they lacked food.

*gave them food, they then claimed they didn’t have water.

God listened to their cries and continually met their needs, but they didn’t learn anything, constantly blaming God every time life didn’t go perfectly.

Sound familiar?

The Lord recently surprised me with something I’ve been praying for a long time.

Yet barely a week later, I find myself upset that the Lord hasn’t immediately solved another problem.

I need to remember: since the Lord solved that first issue in His time and way, He’ll solve this current issue as well.

That’s true in our personal lives, as well as in our church lives.

Second, complaining denigrates God and the leaders He’s chosen.

Just one month this side of Egypt, we’re told, “… the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron” (Exodus 16:2).

After telling Israel that God would provide food for them, Moses and Aaron said:

“… the Lord … has heard your grumbling against him” (verse 7).

They then ask, “Who are we, that you should grumble against us?”

Then Moses concludes in verse 8, “You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”

Translation: grumbling against God’s leaders is really grumbling against God.

Moses and Aaron weren’t perfect; they made mistakes.

But they were God’s chosen leaders … and God identified Himself with them.

How many times have you complained about your pastor … or a staff member … or the church board?

If God chose them … fallible as they are … then isn’t grumbling against them really complaining against God?

Isn’t whining a way of saying, “If God assigned me to lead this church, then I’d do a much better job?”

For example, think about what you’ve said about your pastor recently.

Does your attitude and language indicate that you support his leadership … or that you’re sabotaging it?

Finally, complaining usually becomes infectious.

Congregational consultant Peter Steinke claims that complaining operates as an unchecked virus in a church.

Churchgoers complain in the parking lot after worship … at restaurants with friends … via phone calls and emails and text messages during the week … and even while the pastor is preaching.

Discernment and critical thinking are good things, and believers need to be able to evaluate what’s happening in their church.

But Steinke says that when someone at church comes to you and starts to gripe about a leader, the complaining virus is seeking a host cell.

If you listen to the complainer and agree with their issue, the complaining virus enters your spirit … replicates itself … and then gets passed on to others.

Ever hear someone say, “There’s a cancer in our church?”

The cancer spreads because professing Christians listen to and absorb complaints that they have no business hearing.

Why not?

Because the complaints are often about church leaders … and the leaders have no idea what people are saying about them.

What should churchgoers do instead?

That’s the subject of my next article!

What has been your experience with complaining churchgoers?

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