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April 6, 1992

Lodging a Complaint

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I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. PSALM 142:2
One of the beauties of the psalms is David’s honesty before God. His gut- wrenching pleas for justice, mercy, deliverance, success, and blessing strike a chord within all of us. But rather than nodding in assent with David, we should be praying—and complaining—right next to him.
Yes, you read that right. We should be complaining—to God.
Most of the time, we lodge our complaints with friends and family members. We burden our loved ones with the tedious details and petty discrepancies of our lives. More often than not, these details cause us to cast others in a bad light or to disclose too much information about a situation. This is unwise in a networked society. For the follower of Christ, it is wrong.
If we think that we must sanitize our prayers before we speak them, then we have a serious misunderstanding of what it means to pray. Any close inspection of prayer in the Scriptures will surface numerous examples of people wrestling honestly before God. Prayer is the proper venue for complaints. God knows our thoughts, attitudes, and intentions before we speak them. But laying them bare before Him in prayer is healthy catharsis, not irreverence.
Our work environments move rapidly. Communication happens on the fly. Our relationships and networks are key to getting anything done. Project deadlines are tight. Tempers flare. Conflicts are inevitable, if not required, for the work to get done. But how, where, and with whom we process these feelings is up to us.
Too many times, we carry the stress of a misunderstanding or tense relationship for days before we even think to pray about it. When we finally go to Jesus, He lifts our burden, but only when we are completely and passionately honest.
If we want to walk closely and enjoy a deep relationship with Jesus, then we must master the ability to communicate to Him what is on our hearts. Otherwise, we are left with nothing more than shallow interactions and pious platitudes.

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