Turning Complaints into Constructive Action

Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, or he had married a Cushite. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?”

Numbers 12:1-2


Miriam and Aaron complained about Moses’ wife being a Cushite. Their complaining turned into judgment of Moses and his ability to lead.

Many times, as they traveled through the desert, the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites told them that they wished they had died at the hands of the Egyptians. Now they were in the desert and were going to starve to death! The Lord rained down bread from heaven and Moses said to them: You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord. (Exodus 16:8) Even after they were in the Promised Land, the tribe of Joseph complained because they wanted more land. They feared they didn’t have enough land for the numbers in their tribe, and they feared the Canaanites who had chariots and power.

Too often, we, like the Israelites of old, are guilty of complaining about our leaders, what we have to do, what we don’t have – the list goes on and on. Sometimes it is easier to complain than to turn to God. Paul reminds the people of Philippi to remember that they need to shine like stars as they represent the gospel: 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 should shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life. (Philippians 2:14-16) Paul encourages Christians, then and now, to be light in a dark and unbelieving world. When we complain, we agree with the darkness and do not reflect Christ’s light. We have a choice to complain or to be thankful. Thankfulness is the anecdote to discontentment, and it is discontentment that causes us to complain.

What circumstances are you in that have caused you to complain?

Start thanking the Lord in all things and your light will shine, drawing others to Christ. Today a friend told me that she was choosing to hang out with positive people. I would like to be the kind of person that she enjoys being with – one who is content, who doesn’t complain, and has a grateful heart.

You can choose today to be that kind of person, too.

Heavenly Father,

I often choose to complain because for the moment it makes me feel better. I think that if I have my pity party when I am discontent, it will help me get through the day. The truth is I feel worse. Forgive my complaining today, Lord. Thank you for the many blessings of this life. Help me to always have a grateful heart and be someone who others enjoy.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

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