Friday, 2 December 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

High in the Night Sky

Douglas Wilson

One of the great sins, according to the Scriptures, is the sin of complaining. We tend to overlook this this, thinking that complaining is just an ordinary, garden-variety sin. Everybody complains, right?

But in Scripture it is one of the big ones. The children of Israel in the wilderness incurred the anger of God more than once through their murmuring and complaining (e.g. Ex. 16:2). God had given them amazing provisions in that wilderness, and yet they were blind to it all—their glass was perpetually half empty, not full and overflowing as it had been when they were slaves in Egypt.  The contrast between an unbelieving people and believers is strikingly seen in just this.
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:14–15).
It doesn’t much matter what you are murmuring about. The content of the dispute is entirely ignored by the apostle. The merits of your particular case are passed by entirely.
He doesn’t say no murmuring or disputing unless your boss doesn’t understand you, or unless your wife is not being difficult. He doesn’t say that murmuring is only allowed when nameless others are not letting you have your way. He doesn’t say that murmuring is a good way of letting other people know you have high standards and that other people are aggrieving you because of them.

No, you shine as lights in the world when you do all things without murmuring or disputing. The Israelites murmured about their food and drink, but there are a host of things you can complain about if you want to blend right in with our crooked and perverse nation. There is the weather, the traffic, the housekeeping, the cooking, the music, the pay, the recognition, and the weather again.

This is not a complicated issue. Grumbling is the black night sky. Contentment is a shining star, high in the night sky.

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