“I don’t like the way he…” “She drives me crazy when she…” “I can’t stand them. They think…” “She is the biggest whiner.” “He is so manipulative.” He is always late. She never follows through with her commitments.” The list goes on and on and on when it comes to the ways that we grumble about those around us. I don’t need to think about the ways that others grumble about people–I need to take a look at the ways I have grumbled. James has really called me on the carpet this morning. When I read James’ command not to grumble I am convicted. I stand before God this morning and know that I am guilty as charged.
The Greek word for “grumble” means “To sigh or groan.” Is this the way that God desires for me to respond to those around me? To roll my eyes? Tell others the negative things I’m thinking? They may not do things the way I do them. Their personality may not fit well with my personality. The way they live their life may not be the way that I live my life. All of these things may be true, but God doesn’t want me to respond to them with a groan and an “Oh brother!” How do I know this to be true? Well, first of all, I’ve just read that if I grumble against those around me then God will judge me. That is evidence enough for me to pray that God will change my heart. There is a second bit of evidence that I need to consider. God doesn’t respond to me with a groan and a sigh. He showers me with love. He is patient with me. His Spirit works to bring about the change He desires in me. In Romans 2:4, Paul said, that “God’s kindness leads you towards repentance.” It is God’s grace and kindness that has brought about change in my life.
I need to show the same patience and kindness to those around me that God has shown to me. There have been those I have known in the past that knew I was irritated with them, disappointed in them, disgusted with them. They simply dropped out of my life and I lost the opportunity to show them God’s grace and mercy. I don’t want that to happen again.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You will help me to keep in mind the kindness and grace You have shown me so that I might show it to others. Replace my grumbling with Your grace.