I have made an observation about people, in general, over the years, and it goes like this: We complain when we should be grateful, and we DON’T complain when we should call someone to account for their unacceptable behavior. Of course, this is a generalization, but I am seeing it more and more in our society.
Unfortunately, Christians may be more guilty of this than most people, because we are constantly aware of the verses in the Bible that warn against complaining. (1 Corinthians 10:9-11) Too often, we keep silent when we should speak. Perhaps a good principle to apply in these matters is Ecclesiastes 7:18 (NIV): “Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.”
When my almost-new dishwasher began malfunctioning, I called the manufacturer’s customer service department and voiced my complaint. What began then was a harrowing series of service visits to my home – a dozen, in fact – without the problem being resolved. Our dishwasher was still under warranty, and we didn’t get charged for any of the visits or replacement parts, so the manufacturer figured that we had nothing to complain about. But to say that the entire process was frustrating is a gross understatement.
You can bet that I was praying the whole time, and seeking the Lord for His guidance and assistance in the matter. Even so, the dishwasher problems persisted for almost a year. I kept pleading with the Lord, and with the manufacturer, for a new dishwasher at no cost to me and my husband. All the company would do is extend our warranty for another year for free.
I finally got to the point where I said, “No more!” No more service visits, and no more replacement parts for our appliance. That’s when I contacted my state’s Attorney General’s office. The Lord had spoken to my heart that this manufacturer was doing this to other customers – not just me – and that was enough motivation for me to take my complaint to the next level. A few weeks later, the manufacturer hired a “white glove” service to remove our old defective dishwasher, and to install a brand new one – at absolutely no charge to us.
Jesus said, “Do for others what you want them to do for you. This is the teaching of the laws of Moses in a nutshell.” (Matthew 7:12 TLB) There are times when the Lord wants His people to complain about shoddy work and mediocre service – not just for our own sakes, but for the sake of others. God cares about the relatively “small” injustices, as well as the major ones. In each and every case, let us ask our Master, “What would YOU have me do?”
Prayer: Lord, Your Word says that You are “a God of justice,” and that I am called to “imitate” You. (Isaiah 30:18 NIV; Ephesians 5:1 NLT) So whenever I encounter injustices of any size, give me the wisdom and guidance to know what You want me to do as Your “representative” in this world. (Colossians 3:17 NLT) Don’t allow me to be silent when You want me to speak up, and give me “the right words at the right time” to voice my complaint according to Your will. (Matthew 10:19-20 NLT) Thank You that as I complain Your way, You will bless me and others for Your glory!
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