Monday, July 14, 2008

The Biblical Complaint

Opening Scripture: Psalm 88:14-18 This is a lament or complaint.

The book of Psalms was the Hebrews’ hymnbook. They sang the chapters in Psalms.

1/3 of the book of Psalms are lament songs – songs of crying out, grieving, questions, etc.

QUESTION: Is this legitimate? Acceptable? Is it OK to cry? To cry out? To grieve? To express bewilderment/anger/frustration/confusion/despair, etc.

The only people who don’t feel this way from time to time are either idiots or liars. EVERYONE experiences these feelings now and then.

THE BIBLICAL COMPLAINT - a few observations.

#1. It’s in the Book. 1/3 of the book of Psalms are laments, and the entire book of Lamentations is a lament to God.

Ezek. 19:1 – 14 This is a funeral dirge for the nation of Israel.

The Bible says there is a time to rejoice, and a time to mourn, etc.

#2. It’s never condemned. It was and is an acceptable form of worship. This is NOT about WHINING about insignificant and trivial things.

Phil. 2:14 – “Do everything without complaining, etc.” Christians are NOT immune to problems.

#3. It’s human. We are created to:

A. ask why? Gen. 1:28 We were instructed to have dominion over the birds of the air and fish and animals. Where would we be if we DIDN’T have an inquisitive nature.

B. feel. Jesus exhibited feelings. Example: He wept over the death of Lazarus.

C. Cry outPsalm 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?...”

D. be noticed – when we hurt, we want some other person to know that we’re hurting.

There are many examples in scripture of people who hurt: Moses, Elijah, David, Job, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, Jonah, etc.

#4. It’s reasonable. (logical).

Question: Is God all good? Is God all powerful? Then why is there evil, suffering, injustice, inbalance, etc.) Any thinking person has to realize that there is a problem here.

We cry out to God with questions for answers that we can’t find?

#5. It’s healthy. It’s an emotional catharsis.

A. It directs the complaint properly. – to God, not to spouse, kids, etc.

B. It typically results in restored relationship and a renewed confidence in God. Psalm 13

The truth is: God is ultimately responsible. Not that he caused the problem or willed it, but He did allow it.

A good example is Job: when all the tragedy came on him, he went directly to God with his questions and complaints.

#6. It’s a statement of faith. Examples: Job, Jeremiah. They went to God because they BELIEVED in Him.

Psalm 88:1-3 “You’re the God who saves me….. so ….save me!”


1. Be careful. This is NOT a license to gripe and complain.


2, Be Biblical. Grant self and others permission to practice complaining/venting according to Biblical models. Don’t deny someone the opportunity to mourn or vent.

Rom. 12;15 "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn."

Prov. 25:20 "Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, and like vinegar on soda, is the one who sings songs to a heavy heart."

3. Be Balanced.

On the one hand, life is the same for us as for the Old Testament saints.

But: on the other hand, we have more light, revelation, understanding in and through Jesus Christ that should add to our faith.

4. Keep Walking. John 10:10 Walk by faith, not necessarily by sight.

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