Summary: In this sermon, we explore what the Bible says about complaining and criticizing, and then look at how we can stop complaining and criticizing.
A. Today, we are continuing in our series called: “Speak Life – Speaking Words that Heal, not Hurt.”
1. The Bible tells us that words have the power of life and death.
2. God’s desire is for all of us to learn how to control our tongues so that our words bring life.
3. So far in our series, we explored: The truth about lying, the malignant talk of gossip and slander, and the ego talk of boasting, flattery and exaggeration.
4. Today, we want to explore what I am calling “corrosive talk” which has to do with speaking words of complaining and criticizing.
B. I like the story of the man who decided to join a monastery and one of the rules of this particular monastic group was that you were only allowed to speak two words at the end of every ten years.
1. At the end of his first ten years he said, “Food Bad!”
2. At the end of his second ten years he said, “Bed Hard!”
3. Finally, on his 30th anniversary at the monastery he said, “I quit!”
4. The monk in charge responded, “It doesn’t surprise me a bit. You’ve done nothing but complain ever since you got here.”
5. I’m just wondering if that is an apt description of any of us – that we’ve done nothing but complain ever since we got here!
C. When it comes to many of us, we are very careful to tell the truth, and not to gossip or slander, or not to swear or use God’s name in vain, but we pay little attention to the corrosive words of complaining and criticizing that so easy flows from our mouths.
1. I have chosen to call complaining and criticizing “corrosive words” because we all understand the way acid works.
2. Different kinds of acids work in different ways, but they basically have a way of burning or eating through whatever they touch.
3. That’s what “corrosive words” do to whatever they touch – corrosive words destroy our spiritual life and our relationships.
D. If any of us want a formula to destroy our relationship with God and with others, or a formula to destroy our life in general, then here it is: give yourself over to complaining and criticizing.
1. All we have to do is give ourselves to complaining about everything…and I mean everything.
a. Complain about the weather, the government, the election, and the economy.
b. Complain about your job, your boss, your co-workers, and your income.
c. Complain about your physical features, whether you have too much or too little here or there, whether it be hair, or cheek bones, or love handles and sagging.
d. Complain about your family, your parents, siblings, spouse or children.
e. Complain about how people drive, or the way they don’t discipline their kids, etc, etc.
f. Isn’t it amazing how many things we can find to complain about?
g. Just imagine how that kind of complaining is going to bless that person’s life, and their relationship with God and with others!
h. Not a pretty picture, is it?
2. If that’s not enough, let’s add to complaining a constant stream of criticizing.
a. Stop chewing your gum that way!
b. Don’t leave your hair in the sink, clean up after yourself!
c. Don’t slam the door when you go outside!
d. Quit leaving me with an empty gas tank!
e. Stop forgetting your homework at school! Don’t you have a brain?
f. Sit up straighter…stop talking and listen for once…do you think I am just talking to hear myself talk? Answer me!
g. Again, not a pretty picture!
E. To be honest about it, I think we would all admit that we have done our fair share of complaining and criticizing.
1. This kind of corrosive speech has a variety of roots.
2. It can come from our anger that builds up inside of us and needs an outlet.
3. It can come from our irritation that can be produced by many things going on around us.
4. It can come from our disappointment when things don’t go as expected, or people don’t treat us as we hoped.
5. It can come from impatience with others and with ourselves.
6. It can come from general stress that can come as a combination of a number of things we already mentioned.
7. It can even come from our own guilt and insecurity as we are disappointed with our own behavior or choices, or we question our own ability to make something good of our lives.
8. So there are many reasons and roots to explain why we might be prone to corrosive talk.
I. What the Bible Says about Complaining and Criticizing
A. So, what does the Bible say about the corrosive speech of complaining and criticizing?