Do all things without murmurings and disputings: ~Philippians 2:14
Several years ago, a friend of mine was planning to meet me overseas for a preaching engagement. As he was ready to board his flight, the flight was delayed and resulted in him missing his connection. This meant that he would be delayed two days from meeting me. He was not very happy about this, and quickly reached out to the customer relations department of this airline about the unsatisfactory handling of the cancellation and lack of accommodation for him and the passengers on the same flight. We live in an imperfect and low-quality-service-oriented world that is rife with poor customer service. We have been ingrained over the last 40-50 years to complain and murmur when things don’t turn out as expected. Unfortunately, the same can be said about Christians in the church. Paul gives us simple but stern counsel about what to do with our complaints.
We see the insight on complaining.
Complaining is referred to as murmurings and disputings. Murmuring is when we complain under our breath in a low utterance. It sounds like we are talking to ourselves. Murmuring is verbally expressing our dissatisfaction and ill-favor towards something we disagree with, something that did not turn out the way we thought it should, or something that we don’t like. The word itself means “a secret debate.” A disputing is questioning something with a critical heart. It is having such serious doubts in your mind about a matter you dislike that you deliberately and repeatedly question it in your mind and out loud. When Paul wrote Phil. 2:14, it had come to his attention that the church was overrun by a critical spirit against one another when it came to methods and preferences.
We see the insidiousness of complaining.
Complaining can become chronic. Complaining can lead to a critical spirit. Complaining can make us bitter. Complaining leads to a comparative and competitive spirit with other believers. Euodias and Syntyche were at odds with one another because of petty disagreements. Complaining that is unchecked results in being overly analytical and suspicious about the person you are at odds with. Complaining takes away your joy. Complaining makes you imagine that a problem is bigger than what it is. Complaining leads to divisions in the church. Complaining hinders the work of God from going forward. Complaining is a bad testimony to the unsaved. Complaining is dangerous, and it is a sin.
We see the infection in complaining.
As we study the words “murmur” and “murmuring” in the Bible, they are almost always used in a congregational sense. In other words, it is a group of people who complain. They become the self-appointed complaint and grief department, and are a lightning rod for other complainers. Complaining is so infectious to a church or community of people that it spreads like the plague and does just as much damage.
We see the instruction for complaining.
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” Paul’s instruction is simple, stern, and Scriptural. “All things” means all things. Divest yourself from a selfish spirit that looks at what you disagree with, and instead have a spirit that is ready to be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith. Paul’s instruction is telling us to “stop it.” If you find yourself murmuring and complaining, there needs to be spiritual change in your life. Paul did not instruct us to stop serving or being involved. Paul said, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”
How do I file a complaint then? You don’t! Do all things without murmurings and disputings.
Have a complaint-free God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Proverbs 4-6