I’ve been grumbling way too much lately. Whining. Complaining. I hadn’t even realized that I’d gotten into the habit until my long-suffering husband pointed it out. And when he did, I didn’t exactly feel a rush of appreciation—“Gee honey, you’re right, thank you so much for telling me that I’ve been a grouch.” Instead, I retreated to my wife-cave (hey, if men can have caves, why not women?) and sulked. I even complained to God about Pete’s remarks! Then, gently but firmly, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to what I’d been doing. Sheesh. How embarrassing.
In the Evangelical Hierarchy of Sins, complaining isn’t the worst offense. In fact, I doubt we’d put it in the top ten. But God has a different perspective.
James tell us, “Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged…,” and that’s exactly what I had been doing—focusing on all the little offenses I had collected over the summer from a wide variety of well-meaning people—people I count as friends, people I love. Clearly, God did not approve.
In 1 Corinthians 10:6-10, Paul describes the Israelites as idolaters involved in sexual immorality… and, in the same breath, as grumblers—who were killed by the destroying angel. (You can read the original story in Numbers 11:1.) Yikes!
Jude’s short letter is primarily a rant against ungodly people who are infiltrating the church. After twelve verses containing lurid descriptions of all their faults, and how these horrible sinners are fit only for “the punishment of eternal fire” (v. 7), he ends at verse 16 with, “These people are grumblers and faultfinders….”
In a very real sense, when we complain, we’re telling God that we don’t like how He’s running the universe, and we think we could do a better job. Sound familiar?
It boils down to the same prideful attitude that got Satan kicked out of heaven!
It was with God’s recent chastisement still fresh in my mind that I read the following headline: Only 52% of Americans Approve of God’s Job Performance.
In the first place, I was amazed that anyone would even conduct such a poll! Who are we to judge God’s performance? Isn’t it the other way around?
Then I read the actual question asked of 928 Americans. “If God exists, do you approve or disapprove of its performance?” It’s performance? Excuse me?
The article stated,
“Seventy-one percent of the American public approves of God’s handling of the creation of the universe, 56 percent approve of its (or his? or her?) handling of the animal kingdom, and even 50 percent like the way he manages natural disasters.”
(I found it intriguing that reporter Dino Grandoni also felt uncomfortable calling God “it.”)
If only 56% approve of God’s handling of animals (maybe mosquitoes skewed the results?), I wonder what issues the other questions covered, and what the approval rating was of those.
As ludicrous as this poll is, reading the article was a good reminder that I am not in a position to tell God what to do, judge how well He’s doing, or have any opinion on how to do it better. He’s God. I’m just me. And really, that’s quite a relief.