I Ain’t Complaining But…

I said to myself, “I’m going to quit complaining” (Psalm 39:1 TLB).

I have a Southern friend who has a way of saying things in a pithy, poignant way. One of his favorite responses to critical people is, “When you’re complainin’, you ain’t got no time for confessin’!” His statement is not very grammatical, but his prognosis of a deep human problem is very pointed.

Some years ago I invited a famous Christian psychiatrist to sit in on a retreat. After several days of listening to what people said about their needs, he was convinced that the people had fallen into the syndrome of talking about their problems without any intention of finding or applying a remedial solution.

His comment about the retreat was as penetrating as my Southern friend’s: “These people are just complaining, not confessing.”

That reminded me of a statement on an evaluation form about a young clergyman I was thinking about hiring. “He is a brilliant, talented man, but he’s a complainer. If he could only confess as eloquently as he complains about people and their inadequacies, he could find the love to help them.”

Complaining and confessing are two alternatives to the things that trouble us about ourselves and other people. Greatness in the Christian life is dependent on knowing one from the other.

The Scriptures are very honest about human nature. There is not a problem we face which is not dealt with in a vulnerable exposure. Psalm 39 helps us identify with the psalmist. The progression of his thought gives us a plan for dealing with frustration. He expresses his consternation and then goes on to authentic confession. God is ready to hear honest feelings if they lead us to confess our need for His power, forgiveness, and a new beginning.

When we confess our faults we link ourselves to the power of God, and our complaints are purified. Today is a day to stop complaining and start confessing!

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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