The rich young ruler in the books of Matthew 19 and Mark 10 told Jesus that he kept all of the commandments from his youth up, but the Lord quickly reminded him that he was lacking something.

That’s true for all of us. No matter how much we may try to live upright, we will always remain lacking in some area.

You may not be a fornicator, an adulterer, a drunk, a murderer…you may go to church every time the doors open. You may be very generous in your giving …


God HATES complaining. He doesn’t hate complainers, but He does hate it when we complain. One of Israel’s greatest, most consistent sins while in the wilderness was that of complaining and murmuring. In fact, it was their complaining that made an 11-day trip last 40 years.

God hates complaining so much he allowed His own children to suffer death to serve as an example of the level of judgment that complaining deserves…

1 Corinthians 10:10 (NKJV)

10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

But, don’t we have a right to complain sometimes? Especially when some things are beyond our control? Why does God hate complaining so much?



It doesn’t get more clear than this…

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)

18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Plain and simple…God expects us to be thankful and content in all things (Philippians 4:11-13). There is not one situation when one is complaining that they could not instead find a reason to give thanks or praise. In all of the Psalms where the psalmist was questioning God about troubles did the Psalm not end with praise and thanks giving. (Psalm 6, Psalm 13, Psalm 35, Psalm 94 are just a few). There is a difference in a humble lamentation and an arrogant complaint.


If we’re honest with ourselves, complaining never makes us feel better. To the contrary if we’re angry it makes us more angry. If we’re frustrated it makes us more frustrated, if we’re discontent it makes us more discontent. Whatever our negative attitude, complaining just makes it more negative. Most of the time we even wear it on our expressions. We look angry and unsatisfied. It takes us from beyond a bad mood to a bad attitude. When we have a bad attitude long enough, it becomes our character…more on that in a moment.


How many times have you felt perfectly fine and content about something or someone until someone complained? Complaining is contagious. When we share our negative discontent it can have the same negative affect on someone else’s attitude as well, especially if they are spiritually or emotionally weak.

When we spread discontent, animosity or just a negative attitude we become a stumbling block, and we must always remember that is something that the Lord hates too…

Matthew 18:6 (NKJV)

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.


This is huge! God had led Israel and promised them ‘a land flowing with mild and honey’. However, when things got tough, they continually complained and lamented that they wished they had never left Egypt.

Exodus 14:12  (NKJV)

12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”

Exodus 16:3 (NKJV)

And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Complaining in difficult circumstances said to God then and still does today, that we don’t trust Him. Remember that through everything that Job went through did he never BLAME God of charge Him foolishly (Job 1:22).

Even if our circumstances are beyond our control, we must remember that God is sovereign to do what He pleases with His creation for however it suits His divine purpose, and we must trust Him in that.


It’s God’s prerogative to choose whom He pleases to lead His people. Even though these leaders are mere men and women, He still expects us to submit to them. Notice God’s level of anger when the people murmured against Moses and Aaron…

Numbers 14:41-47(NKJV)

41 On the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.” 42 Now it happened, when the congregation had gathered against Moses and Aaron, that they turned toward the tabernacle of meeting; and suddenly the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. 43 Then Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of meeting. 44 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. 46 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the Lord. The plague has begun.” 47 Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people.

We must be very careful of what we say about a man or woman of God, even when they make a mistake or have a human moment. Notice that God did not tell David that he could no longer be king even after he slept with Uriah’s wife and then had him killed (2 Samuel 12). David suffered the consequences, but that did not disqualify his anointing.


When I’m honest with myself. Much of what I complain about is the consequences of my own mistakes and actions. Yes, there are things that happen beyond our control. Misfortunes, storms, sicknesses etc. But, many times we will find ourselves complaining about relationships, jobs, purchases, situations and circumstances that either we prayed for or God gave us to benefit us.

As early as in the garden of Eden, rather than accept his responsibility for choosing to eat the fruit himself, Adam blamed his wife…

Genesis 3:12 (NKJV)

12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.


As I mentioned earlier, when we express our dissatisfaction through complaining, and a negative mood and attitude, it can become our character. This is very important…

God expects us to set the standard of how to handle difficult circumstances.

When we react with negativity we have allowed that to become our testimony in that situation. When we allow our complaints to become go beyond moods to attitudes, we can allow that to become or come across as our character, especially in the limited context of other people’s exposure to us, or what they hear about us. Our character or perceived character can become our testimony.

Once we have mishandled a negative situation, our reputation may never recover. We don’t want that to become our testimony.

So, what to you do when you have a legitimate ‘complaint’?

Remember this. It’s not necessarily the fact that you disagree that makes it a complaint. It’s the fact that you disagree negatively. That you express your discontent or lament in a spirit of HUMILITY AND POSITIVITY.

There’s a difference in negative discontent and positive discontent.

Pray to God for the wisdom to handle your negative circumstances with grace and in a positive manner, and don’t get caught up in the sometimes overlooked sin of complaining.



Add yours

  1. You make good points.

    What do you do with the Psalms and Jeremiah, where the authors complained bitterly and often about difficult circumstances? Would you differentiate that from the complaints you describe in your post?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hello Brandon. Great question, that I really wanted to address in the post but felt it was already too long. I think you have to look at it all in context of the entire bible. I mentioned a few of those Psalms in the post. God gives us the space for human moments. He remembers we are dust. I feel, like anything else that it’s the spirit in which we express our discontent. I don’t necessarily think God was ANY less pleased by the complaint of any man or woman of God in the bible. He has to set His holy standard, and even the most anointed person can’t fully live up to it. That’s why we have grace. I do feel however there’s a difference in the humility of, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?” as in Psalm 13 rather than the complaints in Exodus that ‘shook their fists’ at God in a sense. I have found myself expressing my discontent in a positive and constructive manner when I try. Thanks for asking and allowing me the opportunity to go a little deeper into the discussion. That’s the wonderful power of this forum.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thanks for that response. I ask because it’s really important to know that God values my emotions in the hard times, even if he and his plans are still paramount. Like you said, maybe opening our prayers with gratitude and thanksgiving is the best way to filter out grumbling.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I am soooooo glad you asked. You are right, it is very important to let everyone know that God values our emotions. After all, He gave them to us. I struggled with how to handle that without making the post too long or going off topic. One could write a short book on the subject to really address it responsibly. I’m always glad to hear from you. God bless you and your ministry. Maybe I can find a way to go back into the post and edit in some elements of our discussion to convey that.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. You always have such great suggestions. I have to be more disciplined in going back to a subject that I have begun. I actually published a couple of posts that I planned to do as a series. I will definitely have to continue my discussion on complaining. Thanks again. Such a wonderful supportive community of bloggers!

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Moses sometimes complained but he took his complaints to God instead of simply complaining about him like the other Israelites did. Complaining can be constructive if you take your complaints to someone who can help correct the problem you are complaining about.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The difference is in coming mplsining outright versus prayerfully bringing our aches, pains, and concerns to God. I think that the difference shows here in your article; but that was a great point to bring up! Such a convicting read! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Regarding the above comments, I once had a brief post differentiating between lament and complaining, which I see as very different. I see some of the Psalms and prophets as lamenting…honest crying out in pain and with human emotion about difficulties. When I think of complaining, the wandering children of Israel in the desert come to my mind – always dissatisfied – grumbling, complaining. For me, the difference is usually evident.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. There’s a huge difference in complaining to God about your circumstances, and complaining to others about your circumstances! The first can be a part of a prayer for help, for grace, for strength; the second displays a lack of faith that God will provide.

      And that to me is the core of the issue. We can even share our problems with other believers. This is required in order to “bear one another’s burdens”. But we must do so with utter confidence that God is in control, and that He is strong enough to either fix the problem, or carry us through the problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Truth in Palmyra and commented:

    While God certainly wants us to share our hearts openly and honestly with Him, empty useless complaining is not what he wants from His children. Here are some great thought from a recent blogging brother.

    Blessings and enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Remember this. It’s not necessarily the fact that you disagree that makes it a complaint. It’s the fact that you disagree negatively. That you express your discontent in a spirit of HUMILITY AND POSITIVITY.” so true , Oh Lord help us !

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great topic and great points! I esiecially love point 4! That’s so true. There’s definitely a difference between complaining and turning to God– with established trust–to share what’s on our hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was awesome! So convicting! Such great examples! Thank you! I’d love to share this on The Silver Lining Ministry page at http://www.facebook.com/angelaslittleattic. I think it’s something people don’t think about often. Our words and attitudes can have a major affect on our lives. The enemy uses them to destroy our spirits, and ultimately us. Our complaints should be taken to God with a prayerful, ytrusung attitude. Thank you for this wonderful post! “Be blesstified!” ✝️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very well written insight. I never realized complaining was a sin until I’m was reading in Exodus and again in Numbers. They were so ungrateful for what God had done for them. It seems like they complained daily against Him. Even I was annoyed. Then when God told them they would not enter the
    Promised land for all their complaining, I had to find out more about why it was a sin. Thank you for this post.nit helped me understand the issue more.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a great post! It is very thought-provoking and usable by God to convict of sin and the need for repentance.
    Would you mind if I add one more point to your 7? You alluded to it in your closing comments: The type of complaining we are addressing (as opposed to lament) comes from a prideful heart. It shows that we really think we could do a better job than God, and as such, is self-idolatrous and rebellious. This recalls to mind two things, Lucifer, who was cast out of heaven for the same sin, and Psalm 78, especially verses 11,17-19, 22,32,56.
    Blessings, brother.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The type of complaining we are addressing (as opposed to lament) comes from a prideful heart. It shows that we really think we could do a better job than God, and as such, is self-idolatrous and rebellious. This recalls to mind two things, Lucifer, who was cast out of heaven for the same sin, and Psalm 78, especially verses 11,17-19, 22,32,56.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Marvelous post. I think many people consider complaining “an acceptable sin” if they consider it a sin at all. Of course, any sin is unacceptable to God so that is a distinction that makes no eternal difference. When I read the post, I thought of the omnipotence and omniscience of God and how our complaining really insults God at least with respect to these attributes — we complain because we are mad that God has not done something to take care of what we see as an unjust circumstance. Instead, we should remember that God knew what would happen long before we even existed. His providence is being worked out and it may be that we needed to have this difficulty so that we would be drawn closer to Him. Rather than complaining, we should praise and thank Him for His love toward us through Jesus Christ in whatever circumstance or difficulty we may find ourselves..

    Liked by 1 person

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