Do People Everywhere Complain?

I’m convinced the US has become a nation of complainers. Just watch the news and you’ll see what I mean. Here in SoCal we have dire stories about impending drought leading to probable water rationing and horrific fire danger … until it rains. Then we have dire stories about mud slides and traffic accidents and horrific fire danger (because of all the new vegetation the rain generates, which of course will be dry when “fire season” comes along in a few months).

I don’t know about anyone else, but this complaining wears on me. When you couple it with the discontent fostered by advertising, it would be easy to think the US is worse off than any nation or people of any time.

We have budget problems and health care problems and now Tiger has gone over to the dark side. As if it wasn’t bad enough that Oprah is leaving (in two years)!

And I don’t have the latest iPod or newest Lexus or Wii or Kindle or … After all, I DESERVE those things. The advertisers told me so, and nobody in the media would fabricate such a thing. I mean, we have government rules against such things, so I know it’s true. I should have more and more and more because I deserve more and more and more. Woe, oh woe is me!

Wouldn’t it be a novel experience for us to practice contentment? We Christians certainly can do so. We understand what we actually deserve, yet we’ve experienced God’s mercy and grace. All contentment takes, it seems to me, is to focus on what we have rather than on what we have not.

We can go one step further and praise God for those things and most of all for Himself because clearly, we who are in Christ are rich beyond compare.

My new understanding is that I have exactly what God wants me to have as long as I am walking in obedience to Him.

So there was Job, walking in obedience, and what he had was three miserable friends accusing him falsely of sinful behavior and a body ravaged by disease. Oh, yes. He also had God. And in the end, Job realized when he looked at God … really saw Him as He is … that was enough. Confession replaced his complaints.

Recently I reread The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill and followed it with The Five Silent Years of Corrie ten Boom by Pamela Rosewell Moore. Let me just say, When I grow up, I want to be like Corrie! 😉

There’s a woman who knew a thing or two about being content. I’d say her willingness to walk through the fire without murmuring or complaining was a result of her abiding trust in her Heavenly Father. What a great example she provided.

So I guess I’ll have to start the ball rolling in my own life by stopping my complaining about complaining! 🙄 But I still have to ask, do people everywhere complain?


  1. They just had a program on the Catholic channel about some saint who was crippled, blind (I think), abandoned by her family and homeless, and became a saint because she spent all her time helping other homeless and crippled people…. I’m sure that if I were in her place I would have been too busy complaining to be of much service to anyone….


  2. Certainly there is plenty of complaining in Australia. I recall something that Elisabeth Elliot wrote (or said) that she though complaining was a learned thing, something she didn’t see much in the jungle. I’ve been thinking about it a bit this year, though. I think it is a tiny shadow of what we were created to be and created for – a perfect world. We long for it, but don’t have it, and our sinful response is to complain.


  3. Nissa, another example of someone looking beyond their own circumstances. I wrote about the people of Israel crossing the wilderness on their way to the promised land, and it dawned on me, their needs were real. They did need water and they did need food, but the grumbling and complaining were accusations that God wasn’t doing right. He’d led them out of Egypt and their need for water and for food was proof that they should have stayed where they were instead.

    There’s a big difference between going to God with a need and complaining against God because of a need.

    Thanks for helping me to think that through! 😉



  4. Wendy, thanks for reporting in about the place of complaining in Australia.

    Interesting thoughts from Elizabeth Elliot’s writing (or words) and your response.

    I’d sort of thought complaining was a part of our sin nature. Using the people of Israel again, I looked at complaining against God as a forerunner to rebellion against Him. But lots of complaining isn’t directed at Him, at least not intentionally.

    But it makes sense that we will have circumstances that created dissatisfaction because we live in a fallen world with other fallen people like us. The difference between complaining and not, I think, is where we put our focus—on the need of the moment or on the God of eternity.

    Great comment. Thanks for taking this topic up a notch.



  5. Becky –
    You have hit upon a tremendous truth in this post! The saddest part of most of what we hear is that the complaining is about the lack of stuff people have most of the time. Since when does anyone “deserve” a cell phone, ipod ect…

    I don’t even have a television set – “gasp!” – and I DON’T WANT ONE! My kids don’t have a gaming system other than an old one a cousin gave them when he received his fourth one!

    You are speaking truth here my friend! Say on!!


  6. News, as a system, is based on a cycle of threat and reassurance. Look closely at a news bulletin or current affairs program some time and you will see it. All media is about getting attention. Threat is a good way to get attention.

    Fortunately the news also delivers some information about the world. You just have to learn to balance your intake of news media so that it doesn’t overwhelm you.


  7. Robert Hughes has a book titled The Culture of Complaint. He suggests that complaining has become a modern trend. Almost a hobby for some people.


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