Overcoming Sin through Christ: Complaining, Whining, Grumbling or Murmuring

Complaining, Whining, Grumbling or Murmuring

Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Complaining, Whining, Grumbling or Murmuring

The sin of complaining is found wherever people are found for it is very common in all levels of society.  Do you hear people complaining about the weather, complaining about their family members, or complaining about the traffic?  When you are at work or in the office, do you overhear others murmuring about their working conditions, the jealousy or unkindness of their fellow-workers, or the depravity of government officials?  When there is a task to accomplish, do you hear someone complaining about what needs to be done, murmuring about why it is required, or whining about the working conditions?

We know that Paul admonished, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Philippians 2:14).  The ESV has, “Do all things without grumbling or questioning,” and the NET Bible has, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.”  What does this mean?  The English grumble means “to complain in a surly manner; mutter discontendedly.”[1][1]  Complain means “to express feelings of pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment.”[2][2]   Murmur means “an indistinct, whispered, or confidential complaint.”[3][3]  Whine seems to carry some of the same ideas but often is used for children. It means “to complain or protest in a childish fashion.”[4][4]

Has this been a problem for you as it has for most others?  Do you complain about unavoidable circumstances—such as weather?  Do you murmur about what you must do for the Lord?  Do you grumble about other people and their treatment of you?  Do you whine about the flat tire or other car problems?

Peter says, “Be hospitable to one another without complaint” (1 Peter 4:9).  While hospitality may be difficult sometimes, do we complain about people and the requirement to show it?  James says, “Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged” (5:9).  If we can do something to help a brother, let us do it; if we need to warn others about an apostate brother, let us do it. But let’s not have a complaining attitude.  Paul writes, “Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone” (Colossians 3:13).  John tells us that “the Jews were grumbling about” Jesus (6:41), and the Lord replied, “Do not grumble among yourselves” (v. 43).

Do we grumble?  We may remember how the Israelites grumbled against Moses and against God and how God responded to this severely.  In reference to this, Paul says that we are not to “grumble, as some of them [the Israelites] did, and were destroyed by the destroyer” (1 Corinthians 10:10).  Do you realize how displeased God is about your complaining about Him? Jude describes certain false teachers of his day, saying that “these are grumblers, finding fault” (v. 16).

With this evidence of how God views complaining and grumbling, we need to run away from this sin.  When we complain, we seem to be saying, “God, You really don’t know what I need and are not concerned about me, thus I insist on complaining against You!”  There is a place to actively seek to change our situation, but there is also a place to accept our lot in life as God’s will..


[1][1] The American Heritage College Dictionary.

[2][2] Ibid.

[3][3] The American Heritage College Dictionary.

[4][4] The American Heritage College Dictionary.


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