The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Complaining
Don’t Blame God for Your Problems
A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.
Here is a common problem. When things go bad for us, we start to blame God as if He were the source of all our problems. Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, we say, “It was the woman you gave me,” forgetting all along that no one made us eat the fruit.
Complaining is counterproductive in many ways. First, it may turn us against God and block the flow of His blessing into our lives. Second, it may cause us to blame others instead of looking within for the source of our problems. Third, it may cause us to miss the lessons God is trying to teach us through the difficulties we encounter.
Hard times provide some of the most important lessons of spiritual growth. Several years ago a friend shared a statement that revolutionized my thinking in this area. It is deceptively simple: “When hard times come, be a student, not a victim.” The more I ponder those words, the more profound they seem. Many people go through life as professional victims, always talking about how unfair life is.
A victim says, “Why did this happen to me?” A student says, “What can I learn from this?”
A victim blames others for his problems. A student asks, “How much of this did I bring on myself?”
A victim looks at everyone else and cries out, “Life isn’t fair.” A student looks at life and says, “What happened to me could have happened to anybody.”
A victim believes hard times have come because God is trying to punish him. A student understands that God allows hard times in order to help him grow.
A victim would rather complain than find a solution. A student has no time to complain because he is busy making the best of his situation.
A victim believes the deck of life is forever stacked against him. A student believes that God is able to reshuffle the deck anytime He wants to.
A victim feels so sorry for himself that he has no time for others. A student focuses on helping others so that he has no time to feel sorry for himself.
A victim begs God to remove all the problems of life so that he might be happy. A student has learned through the problems of life that God alone is the source of all true happiness.
Victims worry about what other people think of them. Students know that the only thing that matters is what God thinks of them.
Victims limp through life, complaining about their heavy burdens. Students race toward the finish line, looking to their reward.
Many things happen to us beyond our control. In that sense, we are all victims of unexpected circumstances. Unfortunately, some people never rise above the victim mode. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We have the opportunity to choose the way we respond to the things that happen to us. By the grace of God, we can decide to become students, not victims, as we face the trials of life.
O Lord, help me to be a student and not a victim today. Amen.
Are you a complainer? What would your friends say? In what areas of life are you most tempted to be a victim? What can you do to become a student instead?
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