Devotion #15

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV

While bitterness, wrath, and anger all stem from the same emotion of anger, clamor is a bit different. Clamor is an expression of dissatisfaction, often in a loud or public manor. In other words, it’s complaining for everyone to hear. 

We complain to others when we’re experiencing discontent, when something isn’t going as expected and we want a different outcome, when we have an unforgiveness stuck in our heart. When we’re unhappy with our spouses, our flesh wants to shout it to others. We run to our friends or family members with words that tear down or mock our mates, looking for confirmation that we are right. If they hurt us or act unjustly, we share intimate details of our marriage with another person as a way to validate our feelings. We want others in the hurt with us, so we share our pain as a way to turn others against them. When we’ve lost respect for our spouses because of a failure, when we become frustrated they didn’t turn out to be who we wanted then to be, when we see their shortcomings from comparison, we ridicule their struggle to others. My friends, such clamor is great wickedness. 

The Bible considers this kind of faithless complaining as evil and warns against it. Repeatedly throughout scripture, God speaks of the wickedness of complaining. You only need to scroll up a couple of verses to find His command in Ephesians:

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29 ESV

We should never divulge the weaknesses or sins of our spouses to another. Your marriage is a sacred and intimate union ordained by God—your words should always, only reflect that truth. The words that come out of our mouths about our spouses should only build them up. Ask yourself, if they were to sit in on the conversation, would they walk away feeling loved and respected? Would your words show grace? If not, then those words should never leave your mouth. 

The problem with complaining about our marriages to others is that it doesn’t just injure our spouses, it is a direct affront to the God of the universe. Our complaining either directly or indirectly questions the sufficiency of God. It shouts He got the wrong address by giving us this difficult marriage, and He is not loving or wise or good. Complaining accuses our God of wrong. 

Grumbling and complaining reveal our true heart of thanklessness. If we’re clamoring about our spouses, we’re not grateful for or content with where God has placed us. The sovereign God of the universe specifically chose every aspect of your life for you, as a way to grow you and transform you into His image. Complaining about any of it is like crying out to others that you know better than Him. It’s a challenge to God that He should be following your plan. 

Complaining and clamor are sin. We complain because we forget God’s deliverance and His provision. The Creator of the universe rescued us and chose to give us another breath. Reflecting on this truth should give rise to attitude of extreme gratitude and contentment for every aspect of our lives. In a world defined by its ability to complain, in a culture that teaches us it’s okay to whine about things that have gone wrong or don’t live up to our expectations, it’s easy to fall into this trap. But it’s an affront to the God we love. And it’s sin. When we realize we have been complaining, we need to immediately drop to our knees and beg forgiveness of our Father in heaven to be restored to a right relationship with Him. 

The God who created this great vast and beautiful universe doesn’t make mistakes, and He didn’t make a mistake when He allowed this marriage into your life. He works ALL things for your good, and He’s doing even now through your challenges. He’s refining you and revealing the areas where you don’t trust Him. 

Some will say they share intimate details of their marriage because they need to get advice for how to move past a deep hurt. Is there such a thing as faithful complaining? Yes. While it’s true, you may need to seek counsel when there is an impasse in your marriage, your words should still always protect your spouse. Faithful complaining cries out to God and looks to Him for redemption, faithful complaining shares only necessary details with people of God for the sole purpose of healing your marriage. God knows the motives deep in your heart, He knows why you share. Let your words only show grace. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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