Someone said that we now live in a culture of complaining. But as I read over the Bible, I recognize that this has always been a challenge wherever there are people. Whether it was Israel in the wilderness who complained that the provisions and leadership God gave were not up to their standards, or those who complained about the faithful prophets for discouraging the troops by speaking a message of repentance or consequences.
What does it say about me if my "cup runneth over" and I, instead of thanking God, complain about the mess? It occurs to me that I will never have to go very far to search for complaining material. It is always readily available. Real-estate in "whine-country" is always in abundance.
Complaining is one of the most destructive methods of the enemy to destroy peace, steadfastness, and faith. This is especially true when my complaints are directed at the church or church leadership. I have never seen any edification come from a culture of complaining, but I have seen destruction. When I was a teen, my Dad told me that he observed that, "Those who regularly complain that loudest are usually those who do the least." I have noticed this to be true. If I am complaining, then I am usually not doing. It enables me to think (usually wrongly) that the problem is something other than me! Looking through the window of complaining helps me to avoid looking into the mirror of self-reflection.
I have found that regular and prayerful meditation alongside scripture with pointed questions helps to avoid the trap of complaining. This is especially true when meditation is in fellowship with a spiritual mature and wise Christian brother who will be honest with me.
1. 1) Concerning the Church, I am
a. Happy with the church
b. Ambivalent about the church
c. Unhappy with the church
2. 2) When I notice a shortcoming in the church, I usually respond with
a. Asking what I, as part of the church, can do to help, including prayer
b. Doing little to nothing
c. Criticism and/or complaint of the church and leaders
3. 3) Which describes my attendance best?
a. I am usually at every meeting of the church, including classes and events
b. I am usually at church most Sundays
c. I am rarely at church and church activities
4. 4) As far as my awareness of what is happening related to the church
a. I am generally well-informed about the church and activities, listening to announcements, reading emails, taking note of the bulletin, etc.
b. I am not very well informed about the church and activities.
c. I am clueless about the church and activities
5. 5) When it comes to participation in church activities
a. I jump in and volunteer, seeking out church activities and opportunities with enthusiasm
b. I might participate if I am asked to participate and have time to think about it
c. I rarely participate in church activities
6. 6) When it comes to leaders, servants, and other members in the church
a. I pray for them regularly and encourage them
b. I rarely pray for them and encourage them
c. I usually complain about them or to them