Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we ponder our lives as we seek to understand the spiritual cure for complaining.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Spiritual Cure for Complaining
Jesus said,"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John, Chapter 16, Verse 33
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we examine the spiritual cure for complaining. "When thinking men and women look upon Jesus as he offers up his life on the cross, they will hardly again permit themselves to complain at even the severest hardships of life, much less at petty harassments and their many purely fictitious grievances. His life was so glorious and his death so triumphant that we are all enticed to a willingness to share both.
During these times we live in, it is common to complain. Complaining signifies the persistent refusal to accept one’’s lot. It is an emotional resentment at one’’s lot which finds outlet in negative expressions. And there are two causes. One is the failure to accept what one must accept; the second is the failure to improve what can be improved. "Man should not blame God for those afflictions which are the natural result of the life which he chooses to live; neither should man complain of those experiences which are a part of life as it is lived on this world. It is the Father's will that mortal man should work persistently and consistently toward the betterment of his estate on earth. Intelligent application would enable man to overcome much of his earthly misery.
Complaining signifies an insufficient integrated character; it signifies the failure of the spiritual nature to gain complete control over the natural self; it also signifies the failure to mobilize those powers of the self to improve the condition. So, we are really dealing with the issue of self-improvement and the other, improvement of a group, of which we are apart. (But the improvement of the group can only improve to the extent that the parts improve. As the parts move, so do the whole. The whole is either retarded or advanced by the parts.) Improvement of the parts leads to cooperation, and thus the pooling of resources that will chip away at the material difficulties of life.
But let us focus more the emotional urge that causes the complaining in the first place. Being human, when our path to what we consider our normal routine is blocked, we have a negative emotional reaction to this blockage. Some of this emotional reaction occurs because we feel powerless or helpless in changing the situation. Often these emotional urges occur before the rational powers of the self are bought to bear upon them. So we see that even before we try to resolve the difficulty blocking our path, we panic and often become consumed by fear. Fear lies behind the common practice of complaining.
The facts of life are that we are going to be beset by certain vicissitudes whether we like it or not. In previous broadcasts, we have shown how certain desirable qualities are born of these vicissitudes. We will not discuss them here but comment that if we are to possess desirable traits, life challenges are required. They serve as essential stimuli to move forward in the acquirement of a spiritual character.
What effect does complaining have upon the acquirement of these essential character traits? Well we know that in the face of these distressing stimuli, the desirable qualities comes into view, but we must hold fast to these qualities in order for them to become a part of our character. Instead of doing this, though, we give into the emotional reaction and complaint. The acquirement of these qualities are handicapped by our animal natures and retarded by our "preconceived opinions, settled ideas, and long-standing prejudices”” and the acquirement of these essential character traits are "virtually thwarted by many of our foolish animal fears and childish anxieties."
““There is a divine spirit that dwells within our minds and souls, and this divine spirit "would like to change your feelings of fear to convictions of love and confidence; but they cannot mechanically and arbitrarily do such things; that is your task. In executing those decisions which deliver you from the fetters of fear, you literally supply the psychic fulcrum on which the divine spirit may subsequently apply a spiritual lever of uplifting and advancing illumination." We see that behind the complaining are the chains of fear, anxiety, preconceived opinion, settled ideas, and long- standing prejudice.
We have the inspiring example of Jesus’’ life to help us cure the emotional immaturity that leads to complaining. As we look at Jesus dying on the cross without complaining, we think about his pain and suffering, and his undaunted confidence in his spiritual invincibility. We cannot help but want to be like that. How can we overcome the complaining and accept our lot in this life on the one hand and mobilize those powers within us that will improve our lot on the other hand?
It is the fear of being an isolated personality that gives rise to the fear, the hopelessness, the powerlessness that causes us to shrink from the challenge of living the mortal life, rather than to bravely face them and overcome them, or to transcend them in the case where no material solutions presents itself. So if we solve the problem of being isolated, then we should also eliminate the negative emotions that go along with that status. Fortunately the inspiring example of Jesus’’ life and death lives within us in the form of the Spirit of Truth. This Spirit of Truth is the power potential that allows us to follow Jesus along the same path of spiritual perfection that he pursued. It is by no means an insignificant statement when Jesus said, ““I am the truth, the way, and the life.””
By accepting his invitation to become one with him even as he is one with the Father, we immediately share his spiritual consciousness. Ponder well this quote: "The living experience in the religion of Jesus thus becomes the sure and certain technique whereby the spiritually isolated and cosmically lonely mortals of earth are enabled to escape personality isolation, with all its consequences of fear and associated feelings of helplessness. In the fraternal realities of the kingdom of heaven the faith sons of God find final deliverance from the isolation of the self, both personal and planetary. The God-knowing believer increasingly experiences the ecstasy and grandeur of spiritual socialization on a universe scale--citizenship on high in association with the eternal realization of the divine destiny of perfection attainment."
We have to acknowledge that we do have this emotional urge to complain about our various ills and situations. How do we transform these negative emotions into positive ones? How do we acquire the courage, confidence, stability, and steeliness of character in order to gracefully bear that which must be borne or to overcome that which can be overcome? The secret to all of this transformation is to seek the Father’’s will. Seeking the Father’’s will empowers us to gracefully discharge all human requirements. But there are times when we become so emotionally charged that we must have some release of these surging energies.
Expressing how we feel is not the same thing as consistently expressing how we feel about the same problem, which is complaining. There is a difference between expressing how we feel and complaining. Expressing how we feel releases accumulated energies; complaining robs us of energy. Expressing how we feel seeks to gain insight into the problem; expressing how we feels elicits empathy; complaining destroys empathy. Expressing how we feel is like giving a horse a slight tap to get him moving; complaining is like beating the horse to death.
Complaining robs us of the energy necessary to adjust to the problem or to overcome it. It keeps the difficulty in our consciousness at all times so that we can find no emotional relief. Complaining wears and tears the self so that the self becomes weaker and weaker. It is like a fog that obscures the true picture of the purpose of all this difficult experience. Rather than give into the urge to complain, we should seek the Father’’s will instead. If we consistently do this, we shall awaken one morning and discover to our pleasant surprise that we have stopped complaining.
This concludes part one of today's message on the spiritual cure for complaining. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.