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TAMING THE TONGUE (8)
Victor M. Eskew
A. How many days in a row can you eat leftovers without growing tired of them.
1. The day after, they are delicious again.
2. The third and fourth day, we begin to tire of them.
3. After that, we might say: “Leftovers again?!!!”
B. The children of Israel got this attitude about the manna they were fed in the wilderness (Num. 21:4-5).
And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Eden: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
C. This was not the first time Israel and complained and grumbled.
1. Numbers 14:20-23
And the Lord said, I have pardoned them according to thy word: but as truly I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. Because all those men which have seem my glory, and my miracles which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto the fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it.
2. The list of complaints and rebellion.
a. At the Red Sea when it seemed Pharaoh’s army would destroy them (Exo. 14:10-12)
b. At Marah when they found bitter water (Exo. 15:22-24)
c. In the Desert of Sin as they hungered (Exo. 16:1-3)
d. In the Desert of Sin when they paid no attention to Moses concerning the storing of the manna till morning (Exo. 16:19-20)
e. In the Desert of Sin as they disregarded Moses’ instructions about gathering manna on the seventh day (Exo. 16:27-30)
f. At Rephidim as they complained for water (Exo. 17:1-4)
g. At Mt. Sinai as Aaron led the people in making the golden calf (Exo. 32:1-35)
h. At Taberah when the people raged against the Lord (Num. 11:1-3)
i. At Kibroth Hattaavah in the grumbling provoked by the desire for meat (Num. 11:4-34)
j. At Kadesh in the Desert of Paran when the people refused to receive the good report of Joshua and Caleb but rather wished themselves dead (Num. 14:1-3)
D. We must not be too hard on the Israelites. We, too, are good at complaining. “An average person is said to complain nearly 15-30 times a day” (www.actforlibraries.com, “Psychology of Complaining Why We Complain”).
E. This is another area wherein we need to learn to “Tame the Tongue.” Let’s look at complaining. The title of our lesson is: “Leftovers Again?!!!”
I. THE DEFINITION OF COMPLAINING
A. Dictionary.com: to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, grief
B. The non-acceptance of what is
C. Complaining is a vain way of expressing pain without getting relief – Israelmore Ayovov.
D. One divided complaining into three categories.
1. Active, effective complaining
a. These complaints are about real, serious problems.
b. Complaints like these are only raised from time to time
c. Acts 6:1
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
a. Sometimes this leads to brainstorming and solves a problem.
b. More often than not, it just involves constant ranting over and over and over that only builds anger and hostility.
3. The ineffective complaint
a. These complaints are about anything and everything.
b. They are constant, hour to hour, and minute to minute.
c. “Unhealthy complainers bellyache to anyone who crosses their path and don't pick up on people's cues that they've had their fill of negativity. ‘Chronic complainers get stuck in victim mode, and that irritates the people around them,’ says Cunningham. Plus, these types love to talk but rarely listen. ‘They'll take hours of your time telling you their problems-then they reject your help and don't take one piece of advice you give them,’ says Kowalski” (http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/do-you-complain-too-much?page=3).
II. THINGS ABOUT WHICH WE COMPLAIN
A. Church: leaders’ decisions, programs of the church, certain people, the lesson (too long, too short, don’t agree), times of services, temperature of the building, song leaders (too many songs, too few songs, not all verses, all verses), Lord Supper (types of crackers, taste of the fruit of the vine, juice too hot), cleaning the building, appearance of building and grounds, sound system, getting out too late, too many fellowship meals, not enough fellowship meals, etc.
J. What we have
K. What we don’t have
M. TV programs
N. Young people
O. People with children
P. Old people
Q. Medical care
R. Computer and internet
T. Post Office and mail
W. Our weight
X. Our time
Y. The government
Z. How we slept
III. THE BIBLE AND COMPLAINING
A. I Corinthians 10:10
Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
B. Philippians 2:14
Do all things without murmurings and disputings.
a. Strong (1112): a grumbling
b. Thayer: murmur, muttering, a secret displeasure not openly avowed
a. Strong (1261): discussion, debate
b. Thayer: deliberating, hesitation, doubting, disputing, arguing
C. I Peter 4:9
Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
IV. WHY DO PEOPLE COMPLAIN?
A. Conversation starters
B. Life’s not fair
C. To control others
D. Genuinely unhappy
E. Don’t have to take responsibility
G. Lack of empathy
H. An attempt to be superior
I. Pre-cursor to be superior
J. Disrespect of authority
K. Loss of perspective
L. Being with other complainers
M. It feels good
N. Hidden agendas
O. Evil hearts
P. Critical, judgmental spirit
S. To force others to carry negative feelings
V. WHY COMPLAINING IS BAD
A. Makes things look worse than they really are
B. Becomes a habit
C. Makes people despondent
D. Kills innovation
E. Makes one negative
F. Makes one bitter
G. Does not solve problems
H. Can cause cliques and division
I. Makes one self-righteous
J. Harms relationships (Who likes a complainer?)
VI. WAY TO OVERCOME COMPLAINING
A. Be aware of your complaining.
1. Many times we complain and don’t realize it.
2. Get someone to help you monitor your complaining.
B. Be thankful for what we have (I Thess. 5:8).
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
C. Dwell on what is right instead of what is wrong. “Instead of complaining that the rose bush has thorns, be happy that the thorn bush has many roses.”
D. Give other the same “benefit of the doubt” that we want others to give us.
E. Practice patience, that is, the ability to endure.
1. The Bible calls this trait by many names: patience, endurance, longsuffering, forbearance.
2. Ephesians 4:2
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.
A. All complaints are negative in nature.
B. Occasional complaints can make a positive impact on people and situations.
C. Constant complaints make one a negative person.
1. The person becomes a habitual complainer.
2. This person could find something to complain about with regard to Jesus Christ. (NOTE: There were some who did).
D. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Phil. 2:14).