Overcoming A Complaining Spirit: Taking Responsibility

He was in again. ISS or In School Suspension. While in middle school, my son seemed strangely attracted to this place. He got in less trouble here. After all, he owned his own cubicle. No one could bother him nor could he annoy anyone else.

Questioning why he was there produced interesting answers. Occasionally he confessed his crime and welcomed the consequences. More frequently, he complained that someone else was responsible. They were talking, but the teacher nailed him. Or the teacher just had it in for him. Seldom was anything his fault, and rarely did he want to take responsibility.

God allowed the ground to open and swallow the group who rebelled against his chosen leaders. But instead of admitting the rebels made the mistake of disobeying, the people complained. The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. “You have killed the LORD’s people,” they said (Numbers 16:41).

The attempt to escape responsibility for life’s mistakes and acts of disobedience against God is widespread. Complaining that our failures are someone else’s fault is always preferable. Adam tried to pass the responsibility buck when God confronted his disobedience, and Eve continued the pattern.

Admitting our failures and taking responsibility for our sins relieves us of the need to complain that someone or something else is to blame. Salvation depends on admitting our sins, healthy relationships are formed when each person assumes personal accountability, and a responsible life is bred by owning up to our mistakes. Blaming and complaining may appear easier, but admitting responsibility and taking ownership are healthier.

Prayer: Almighty God, Father of mercy and grace, move us to acceptance and repentance when we’ve missed Your standard rather than complaints that others have led us down an erroneous path.

Martin Wiles
Hodges, South Carolina, USA  

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