Grumbling Undermines Great Goals

What do we do when we as a family have divergent opinions amongst ourselves? How do we ensure that opinions are heard, but that complaining and grumbling do not tear us apart and keep us from maintaining our wholeness.

In a consumer society people’s decisions are driven by preference. A week or two ago I met a friend for a sandwich and a drink at a little shop near where I live. Let me tell you it was an experience – the options for breads, dressings, sauces, meats, vegetables and other toppings was ridiculously large. I was really making my own sandwich.

The problem with being so powerfully influenced by the prevailing culture is that many of us in the family expect that decisions will be driven by our preferences. Fortunately there are people in the Bible who went through exactly this same dilemma, and we can learn from them.

Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-13

Corinth was a very influential city in those days. Not only was it a capital city, it was also an important commercial and religious hub, a boiling pot of cultures and trades. As a result of this, it’s inhabitants had been exposed to many different teachers and preachers all representing Christ. It appears that little pockets of preferences had developed around various leaders; some Cephas (Peter), others to Paul and others to Apollos.

It’s not completely clear why it is that factions formed. What we know is that they formed around people who had different styles, different approaches and different strengths. Apollos for instance, was said to be a confident and articulate speaker. Peter, to some, seemed like the real leader of the church as he was one of the key people around Jesus and the one of whom Jesus said “I will build my church upon”. On the other hand, Paul had been on missionary trips to Corinth and may have gathered a following. What is evident is that the people began to grumble amongst themselves regarding who they should follow.

The problem was not just that they disagreed but that they were aligning themselves into camps based on who they did or didn’t prefer. They were not actually coming out to resolve their differences of opinion but were instead allowing these differences of opinion to drive a wedge between family members. The danger with these divisions in the family was that ultimately they threatened to undermine the mission of the family which was to preach Christ.

Grumbling is part of the human condition and among some epidemic. Put people together and inevitably someone will be unwilling to cooperate. I don’t think the problem is with our differences. The problem is when people tend to murmur among themselves, whispering, accusing, blaming, finding fault without actually moving towards a resolution. My one point in this message is that grumbling undermines great goals!

Where else do we see people’s grumbling threatening to undermine great goals or ambitions? About 2 weeks ago on March 2nd Kenya witnessed the historic Lamu port ground breaking. But the day before the ground breaking the locals was to put a full page of complaints in the paper: All plans for the proposed port should be suspended until all their complaints are addressed! Four days later on 6th March, the president launched the Kibera redevelopment project. The project involves the construction of 912 housing units, 230 business stalls, a nursery school, a social hall, a youth center, three solid waste handling sheds, three toilet blocks and a boundary wall. Great goal right? What you may not know is that in response to the governments plan to redevelop Kibera slum, the slumlords went to court to restrain the government, succeeding in delaying the project by 2 years all the while continuing to collect rents from the poorest people; land which is government land.

Grumbling undermines great goals!

God’s intention is that people would be different. And as a result of these differences, we have varied perspectives on numerous issues, different outlooks and ultimately different opinions. It is important to appreciate that this was God’s intention – that we would be different, and that our difference would not tear us apart, but rather build us up. But when people grumble, nothing is resolved and we continue to lurch forward without a clear plan. Grumbling threatens the mission of the family which is to preach the gospel. Here is how we can manage our differences of opinion:

  1. Speak the truth in love: feeling dissatisfied or uneasy is not the problem. The problem is when we allow dissatisfaction to become division. Bring the issue to light. We can’t address complaints that we don’t know about. As long as issues are kept in the dark, not only do they negatively affect you, but no one can speak into them and help you deal with them. You must find ways to surface them and disinfect them with the sunlight of conversation. Robust conversation is the hallmark of a healthy family- it must be encouraged.
  2. Refuse to play host to chronic complainers: Grumbling steals your joy. If you encourage grumbling and murmuring it flares up and takes hold. In other words it continues and grows. Don’t entertain secrets, accusations, blaming and faultfinding.
  3. Appreciate the fact that decisions will take into account many other considerations: even though you have a right to be heard, decisions will take into account many other considerations, including our overall mission as a family.
  4. Serve: Serving gives you access to insider information, connects you to decision makers and gives you the opportunity to shape outcomes. Maybe you have seen or encountered something in this family here that has left you perturbed and your default is now to complain. As a result you sit and mope, and you close out your heart even from God’s blessing. All around you there are lives being transformed, people discovering purpose and beginning to thrive, others receiving healing, marriages being restored – yet you don’t enjoy any of this because of a grumbling spirit. Maybe you’ve decided you won’t do Mizizi, or even though last week the call was clear, you’ll never serve in a ministry, or you won’t engage in a Life-Group. As a result, amazing things are going on all around you, but you are missing out. Don’t let grumbling rob you your own opportunities of service and growth.

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10 Responses to “Grumbling Undermines Great Goals”

  1. Grumbling. Its part of life one can choose to ignore it or act on it. You may ask what do i mean. Well positive energy ever always counters negative energy.

    When approached by a thought of discomfort, forcus on the opportunity the ”problem” has created. It takes great personal growth that takes time and practice to achieve.

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  2. hi Pastor,

    I am a professional grumbler. I have been for some time.

    I come from a family where my parents totally ignore anything I say or suggest, including expressing my needs and feelings. This has made me a very bitter and angry person. I have also had similar experiences with employers.

    As a result, I have adopted the unhealthy art of grumbling, because I believe nobody hears me. Its the same with God. I pray and pray and my life only seems to get worse (its really bad right now, but thats a story for another day).

    So I moan and groan to anyone who’ll listen, hoping that this bad feeling will finally leave me alone, but it doesn’t.

    I believe that like Job, all will be restored. But until then can I just continue to grumble, like Job did?

    Some of us grumble simply because life has been sooooo unfair.

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  3. Macreen Agollah Says:

    Am blessed with your message. How i pray that i’ll keep quiet in dissatisfaction.

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  4. Mavuno was introduced to me by a friend a few weeks ago during the Finders Keepers series. Boy, was my mind blown or what. So I I have become a sort-of self-appointed Mavuno member from across the miles all the way in the English county of Kent…I was greatly blessed by the message this morning, I watched via the live stream at 6am because of the time difference (I live in the UK) and there is no better way to start the day.

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  5. Listening to the service yeterday I felt like Pastor Linda was talking to me. Grumbling has become a part of life for me. It started small and now I feel I am becoming a proffesional complainer and a negative person. I have tried to stop on my own but to no avail. After yesterdays prayers I have decided to start a new leaf and trust and believe that the grumbling will go away for good. This is my big resolution for the year, the grumbling and negative talk must go… This is my year to T.H.I.R.V.E

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  6. Great sermon, simply delivered, impactful. Love pst. Linda.

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  7. I also grumble alot but i tend to see it in others instead of myself. It is my prayer that i stop grumbling & learn to speak openly & live joyfully. So help me God.

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  8. the message on not grumbling came at a time in my life where i was dissatisfied with life. everything in my life was not working out. i was not happy with my family, my work basically i was grumbling at every aspect of my life. i know now that grumbling is what has prevented me from achieving my goals. I will enjoy my life. Grumbling no more.

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    • Sooo grateful! I have recently been marinating on the fact that God is faithful and if He keeps repeating something to us, then perhaps we ought to listen AND ACT. So I thank God that He never gives up on us, but uses all opportunities available to speak to us.

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  9. It’s amazing how we as Kenyans have let our past events degenerate into chronic pessimism and grumbling. Never before has that fact been so real as when the president announced that we had discovered oil in Turkana and immediately you could see the reactions of Kenyans on the social media to be one of despair and fear which is such an anticlimax to this exciting news!

    I am not saying that Kenya doesn’t have problems and issues but truth be told we have had our moments. Moments which would have distroyed this country had God not been with us. We are a resilient nation and with Jehovah on our side we will surmount all obstacles of leadership and negative ethnicity that face us on our journey to our destiny.

    Thanks pastor Linda for such a timely message as this just drives the point home for me that grumbling undermines great goals!

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