“41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.” John 6:41-43 ESV
Jesus had to deal with people who complained and criticized Him and His ministry. The people in this passage who were being critical were some of the same ones who Jesus had personally fed at the Feeding of the 5,000. How do we know the difference between someone who has a legitimate issue and someone who is just a chronic complainer?
What Is a Chronic Complainer?
principal #1 : chronic complainers always have something to complain about. This is where the rubber meets the road. Look at the track record. If someone is consistently critical, it is a character issue and has crossed the line from being just an isolated incident.
principal #2 : chronic complainers are contagious, they multiply like rabbits. Notice it wasn’t just one person, but had it spread to the crowd.
“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.” – Benjamin Franklin
principal #3 : chronic complainers show their lack of faith
The root of all the Israelites’ complaining was a lack of faith in God. When we complain about things, we show we have little or no faith in God to handle what many times is out of our control.
principal #4 : chronic complainers can’t keep it to themselves. Here, they verbalized their displeasure at Jesus’ message. For the chronic complainer, it’s not enough just to think a certain way, it must be communicated to others – usually for self-validation
principal #5 : chronic complainers think you’re not doing your job. They didn’t think Jesus was doing what they thought he should be doing. If you look back at the context they had the idea that if Jesus was really the Messiah, they should be getting free bread every day, a restoration of the provision of the manna in the Old Testament. We can get messed up if we think we’re supposed to write everyone else’s job description; especially when that’s the Lord’s job.
principal #6 : chronic complainers question your qualifications. They questioned Jesus’ claim to be from heaven and pointed out his earthly parents.
Once we know what a chronic complainer looks like, then we can begin to deal with the problem. What Is the Cure for the Chronic Complainer?
principle #1: recognize the reality. You have to know what you’re dealing with. Always ask yourself first, am I falling into this trap? This is the law of the log and the speck. Before you go about taking out the speck in your neighbor’s eye, check for a 2×4 in your own.
“Complaining is like bad breath… You don’t always know you have it until someone tells you.”
Second, if we’re on the receiving end, Is the person I’m dealing with falling into this trap?
principle #2: confront the problem. Jesus didn’t just let them off the hook. If the problem is you, you need to confront yourself. If the problem is someone else, you need to confront them about it. If someone is being critical forgive them, if it doesn’t stop confront and forgive, and move on.
principle #3: stop complaining about it, whatever “it” is. the chronic complainer wants to point out the problem but not be part of the solution.
“Complaining is damaging on everything in our lives. We focus on the problem and don’t find the solutions.”
principle #4: stop the cycle “among yourselves.” What happens many times is that someone complains to us and we turn and pass that complaint on to others. If we want to follow Scripture we will go to Matthew 18 and if you have a problem with someone go to that person and that person alone and seek to work it out.
principle #5: replace the negative with a positive. A chronic complainer is quick to complain but doesn’t want to be part of the solution. What I’m learning about true repentance is that it is not just stopping the vice, because that just leaves a vacuum, but replacing it with the opposite virtue.
So what is the opposite of complaining? it is encouraging.
What is the opposite of talking about problems? solving them.
What is the opposite of talking behind someone’s back? going to them one-on-one.
I’m convinced that 95% of relationship problems, marriage problems, church problems, would all be alleviated it we could learn how to biblically communicate with one another. Unless you are a cartoon character and live in Candyland at some point or another in your life you have fallen into the trap of complaining and its negativity. I would encourage you to take a moment and repent. To say Lord, forgive me for the times that I have been negative and critical. Second, I would encourage you to resolve. To resolve to follow the Lord’s command and with his help to become encouragers instead of complainers. To resolve to build others up around you. That when you feel a complaint coming on that we seek to answer the question, how can I solve this problem? To resolve that you won’t be party to those who only want to point out problems but not work together for a solution.