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30 August 2010 (Shanee/Matzah)
Day #168, 5934 AM
Teshuvah #22 Siach
Repenting of the Sin of Complaining

Continued from Part 1

This teshuvah season, as we devote 40 days to getting things fixed between us and Yahweh as the community of Messianic Israel, we have been looking at an assortment of items as the Ruach has been moving me as I minister to you as a congregation and hopefully privately to each of you as you work on mending issues that I may not cover. I value the input that I have been given as we navigate this period of collective repentance.

One of the conditions of the fallen, carnal, fleshy, Adamic state is the tendency to complain or murmur. We naturally complain (when we are in the flesh) when things go wrong. What do you do when things go wrong? How do you react? Are you one of those people who steps up and puts on a positive attitude or are you a complainer? Sometimes it is easy to fall into a whiney state-of-mind, but the Bible has some advice and inspiration about complaining.

The Scriptures say that complaining (siach) is a sin because is a sign of being ungrateful. And I venture to suggest we are all guilty of ingrattitude to varying degrees. We fail to appreciate all that we have been given, even in trying circumstances. As believers we are not given a licence to complain simply because things aren't going well, neither will Yahweh accept the excuses we make like 'it's the way I relieve frustration' or 'I'm just being honest'. I may honestly be frustrated by someone who is being provocative and feel like hitting him but that does not mean I should. We are expected to seek relief from frustration and anger by placing these things at the feet of Yah'shua (Jesus). And doing that means to be humble and contrite. When we want to pummel someone who is being horrible we're simply turning away from Yah'shua and deciding a negative, prideful, punitive reaction is better than humility.

I am not saying this is an easy thing to do. Far from it. Everyone one of us does it. Things donít go our way and we start complaining about this and whining about that. We make excuses. Yet the Bible clearly says that complaining is a sin. Yahweh says that complaining shows an attitude that you are ungrateful and bitter and this often tests His patience. Job had to learn this lesson the hard way:

    "My soul loathes my life; I will give free course to my complaint, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul" (Job 10:1, NKJV).

Now from one perspective Job had plenty of grounds to complain. He had been living an upright life honouring Yahweh when suddenly everything he had (apart from his complaining wife) - his children, home, property, flocks, and finally his health - is taken away from him. He doesn't know that he is being used to glorify Yahweh and put Satan to shame. And whilst I am by no means saying that every calamity that strikes us is simply to give glory to Yahweh (it may be because of our own sin) it would still be true to say that how we respond either gives glory to Yahweh or brings Him shame and mockery from the fallen angels and their human hosts. The ultimate issue is not about right and wrong but about the way we conduct ourselves, and Yahweh's honour.

This is a most repulsive, obnoxious thought to the carnal mind. The carnal mind simply wants to bring glory and justification to self. Therefore complaining is a most natural thing for it. Yahweh hates it, and whilst He is patient, long-suffering and full of grace, there are limits even for Him. Therefore Paul reminds Christians not to imitate the ways of our forefathers in the desert:

    "[Do not] complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the Destroyer" (1 Cor.10:10, NKJV).

Likewise the apostle James warns:

    "Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!" (James 5:9, NKJV).

The sin of complaining is judged at Yom Kippur. Complaining, as I have already suggested, leads to other sins, but the most serious one is the sin of disobedience against authorities, whether Yahweh, husbands, fathers, or employers. We are therefore in need to constant reminders of our proper attitude:

    "Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of Elohim our Deliverer toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), whom He poured out on us abundantly through Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) our Saviour" (Titus 3:1-6, NKJV).

Our obligation to this divinely-mandated conduct is not because we must somehow earn credit to be saved because our salvation was free anyway, but to maintain the right to this free gift through the daily renewal of the Ruach haQodesh.

When a soul slips into an attitude of complaining, it leads to further disobedience, and to pouting. If that soul then maintains that negative focus, it will soon lose sight of all the good things that Yahweh does in his life. And the result of that is most serious indeed, because before long he will become engrained in an attitude that causes both him and others to lose faith!

    "They grumbled in their tents (homes) and did not obey Yahweh" (Ps.106:25, NIV).

Persistent complaining leads to outright rebellion, a sin that Yahweh hates passionately. You see, complaining isn't just an act or series of acts but it is a tavnith or pattern of behaviour that has been said to be a creative act. It's not like a puff of smoke that is here one second and gone the next. It's like a house under construction. "The more you complain", Steve Pavlina observes, "the more you summon your creative energies to attract something to complain about. Your complains may seem fully justified, but realise that whenever you complain, you are placing your order for more of the same. Complaining is not merely about the past. Whenever you make a complaint, realise you are setting an intention - a goal - for the future" (Complaining).

Let us be realistic here. Things will go wrong in our lives, big and small. We're in a war zone. We can either spend our time complaining and taking our eyes off Yahweh or we can find ways to make things better. I suggest there are two things we can and ought to realise or do:

  • 1. Complaining is a negative, destructive tavnith or pattern of living (actually, it's dying spiritually - you are constructing a house of self-destruction) - we are using the creative powers that Yahweh has endowed us with to dishonour Him in an adulterous sort of way; and

  • 2. Being positive is a creative, edifying, upbuilding and constructive way of living but can only be accomplished in true tavnith or pattern but having our eyes on on our true roshim (heads) and on the emet (truth) principles of Torah to which we connect primarily by having our eyes on Yah'shua and secondarily by absorbing Scripture.

By choosing to think positively and having as our creative goal to make things better by following divine tavnith, we can then not only experience spiritual growth and sanctification personally but we can be a positive influence on those around us, thereby witnessing of Christ too!

    "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Eph.4:29, NIV).

This is mostly common sense, actually. Psychologist Steve Pavlina therefore correctly observes further:

    "People who complain trap themselves in a reality that constantly gives them more to complain about. Life keeps harshing on them. Their luck is below average. They never get any real breaks. Unfortunate circumstances, seemingly beyond their control, keep manifesting. It seems totally unfair but it isn't. The complainers are simply witnessing the fulfillment of their own requests. Every thought is an intention, and complainers habitually intend what they don't want. So it makes perfect sense they live in a reality congruent with those thoughts. The complainer may tell you their reality is causing their complaints, but it's more accurate to say their reality is reflecting their complaints" (Ibid.).

What's actually going on here is that by breaking divine tavnith or pattern - by breaking Yahweh's Torah or commandments - the complainer is actually giving the enemy legal grounds to cause him trouble and so modify his reality by becoming a part of it. The demonic initially taps into a negative creative energy that belongs to the flesh, and when the complainer agrees in his mind and heart with this, he opens the door to the demon to further energise this negativity. He then hosts a dark spirit and its energy and starts the spiral of destruction.

The only way to halt this destructive path is to make a decision - a choice - and say 'no'! He must make teshuvah, repent of both this sin and all the other sins (such as rebellion) that were triggered dominoes-fashion as a result, ask Yah'shua (the Living Torah) to forgive and cleanse him, and then choose the path of edification. That means yielding to Torah and following set-apart tavnith to the letter:

    "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of Elohim (God), what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Rom.12:2, ESV).

    "Do all things without grumbling or questioning" (Phil.2:14 ESV).

There is nothing complicated in all of this. It is simply to choose to live one lifestyle over another - Yahweh's instead of the world's, through the power of Yah'shua the Messiah. I have to say, though, that if you want to leave Yah'shua out of the picture and simply try to do this in your own strength by mere 'positive thinking' that you will eventually fail, because without Yah'shua you can't remove the old foundations of the house of complaining - you'll just be building something on top.

    "And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Yahweh your Elohim, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, Yahweh your Elohim will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of Yahweh your Elohim. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl" (Dt.28:1-68 ESV).

Let us make an end to complaining, banishing corrupt talk (Eph.4:29), and make proper teshuvah by submitting to Yahweh through Yah'shua His Son and obeying true tavnith. Amen.

Continued in Part 3
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