Our voices and expressions are powerful things. They often communicate much more than mere words ever could.
They also can contribute to those back door complaints that I like to slip into my conversations. If you were to read my words as subtitles, they would look harmless enough: I need to finish the laundry…I guess I’d better start making dinner…I’ll find your pencil for you.
See? No big deal.
But if you listen closely, you can hear the grumble behind each statement. Actually, you don’t even need to listen very closely. I’m not particularly subtle.
And if you peek through my window, you also might see me slumping my shoulders for emphasis. I wouldn’t want anyone to miss the point I’m trying to make.
At other times, I don’t even need words. A sigh….a groan….a puff of air. A very loud puff of air, that is, blown out obnoxiously enough for everyone to hear my frustration.
I’ve spent years perfecting the fine art of wordless complaining. I’m good at it. I practice a lot.
God doesn’t read my subtitles; He reads my heart.
First John 1:8 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Verse ten stabs at the heart again, “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Ouch! When I act like my tone of voice or wordless expressions don’t matter, I’m deceiving myself and calling God a liar.
Sin is sin, no matter how I paint it or what excuse I make for it.
And God hates sin. But sandwiched in between those two painful verses I shared above is a sentence that perfectly expresses the beauty of God’s grace. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Amazing. Undeserved. Incomprehensible.
I’m finding that removing complaining from my life is even harder than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be pretty hard!
God, in His mercy, is revealing the secret (and not so secret) sins of my heart. These sins need confessed and forgiven. Continually. And I need cleansed from this unrighteousness by the blood that was shed (without complaint!) for me.
This post has been updated and republished from the archives.