There’s a little verse in Philippians 2 that bothers me every time I read it. In Philippians 2:14, Paul commands believers to “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (NIV)
The apostle can’t be serious, right? This has to be a mistranslation! But try as you might, you’ll find the same message no matter what translation you use.
The New Living Translation is the same except for the conjunction used: “Do everything without complaining and arguing.”
The English Standard Version has it: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.”
The King James says: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”
The Message: “Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed!”
The New American Standard advises: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.”
The Amplified Bible is the worst though: “Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves].”
No wiggle room there. Complaining is sinful because, as the Amplified suggests, it brings into question the character of God.
When you grumble about the weather, you’re saying God doesn’t know what he’s doing. Isn’t he the one in control?
“Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’
“He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’
“Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’” (Matthew 8:24-27)
When you whine about not having anything to wear as you stare at your full closet, you’re dishonoring the God who provided every stitch of clothing you own. Didn’t he promise to feed and clothe you?
“And why do you worry about clothes?” Jesus asked his disciples. “See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:28-33)
When you complain about the kind of people God is bringing into the church – I hope no one is doing that – you question God’s judgment. That’s not smart.
“Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and “sinners”?’
“Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. ‘I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’” (Luke 5:29-32)
Complaining makes God out to be incompetent, disinterested, uncaring, evil. Is he any of these things? No! He is good and his love endures forever! He is worthy of worship not whining!