Musn’t Grumble

I can never recall if it was Francis Xavier or Francis Assisi who said that they had heard men confess to all kinds of sins, even sin they could not imagine but they had never heard anyone confess to covetousness. Covetousness joins that list of invisible sins such as gluttony that scarcely register on the sin radar. I have thought much recently about another invisible sin, grumbling. It is something which truly blights the church but which few take seriously as a sin even though they experience its bitter aftertaste. Yet the God takes the sinfulness of grumbling seriously. If you doubt that then read Exodus 16, Numbers 14 and Paul’s commentary on this episode in 1 Corinthians.

Why is grumbling such a serious sin?

1. In the first instance it is serious because it arises from an absence of grace in or lives or an acknowledgement of that grace. Grumbling in effect says I deserve better.

2. It arises from a resistance to God’s providence in our lives. Like the Israelites we fail to rest in God and trust in Him.

3. Grumbling in churches is very often, as it was in the desert, directed at leaders. There is that failure to be thankful for those whom God has given to the church as His gifts to build up the body of pride.

4. Grumbling is often closely allied with a sense of self-pity.

5. It also arises from pride. Pride which refuses to acknowledge that we are imperfect like the people around us.

6. Where there is grumbling there is an absence of Christian love.

The effect of grumbling in our own souls is to produce cynicism. Its effect on others is to dishearten them. Its effect upon God is to bring the judgement of God.

Grumbling should be taken seriously and we should repent of it.

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