I have a memory from when I was a little girl. I think I was in the third grade.
One day our class was standing scattered around the classroom, and the teacher was not in the room. I suppose we had just come back from lunch or recess.
All the other kids were being SO noisy, and I knew they weren’t supposed to be.
So I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I gathered up all my force, took a deep breath, and yelled at the top of my lungs,
Right at that moment the room got quiet and we all turned and saw the teacher standing in the doorway.
We were SO in trouble!!
This memory came to me when I read the following verse, James 5:9 (NIV):
“Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door.”
You know, it’s so easy to see that the other person is obviously doing wrong. Or perhaps a group of people is doing wrong. But what about me or you when we get on an attitude about it? Do we have to yell at the top of our lungs before we realize that the Judge is standing at the door, and we are SO in trouble?
No, God hears our whispered gossip, our complaining behind closed doors. He hears the grumbling
- against the music minister for not doing enough hymns,
- against that preacher for preaching on tithing again,
- against the powers that be for spending so much (or not enough) money on something we feel is important (or not so important)….
And we don’t even have to speak to be grumbling. God hears the grumbling we do in our hearts before it ever makes it to our tongues.
He hears our inner grumbling about a family member who left his shoes out where we could trip over them again, or who squeezed too much toothpaste out and didn’t clean it up and put the lid on.
Grumbling grieves the heart of God.
It is not a part of His perfect plan for our lives.
It disturbs the peace and the unity of the church or family unit just as assuredly as my yelling inside the school was more of a disturbance than my little-girl brain could have imagined.
When we grumble against someone, we set ourselves up as little judges.
We show that we want to be the boss and control things so they will go our way.
We may even convince ourselves that we are somehow doing God a favor by whipping those other people into shape. But make no mistake about it, we are really just as wrong as the little third grader that yelled at the top of her lungs in the classroom.
So, next time you feel a grumble coming on, watch out!!
The Judge is standing at the door!
Rather than risking His displeasure, why not bow before Him and ask for His help?
Wouldn’t it be better to willingly bow before Him as Lord and ask for His help in the situation than to grieve Him and risk having to be disciplined by Him?
So, what will it be? What choice will we make the next time we feel a grumble coming on?
In the words of the Grail Knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,
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