Grumblers, the Judge is at hand.
Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.
If there is one thing the Lord doesn’t like, it is a grumbler. I suppose that after so many years with Israel in the desert that He just has had enough of grumbling and complaining and murmuring. But what are the alternatives to grumbling? He just got through telling brethren to be patient in the midst of oppression and now they are not allowed to grumble either?
Grumbling is roughly akin to gossip; most of the times, it is just under your breath. However, a lot of times it is a grumbling that is shared with someone else and that is going to (98% of the time) turn into Gossip with the first word. If you have a problem with someone, especially a brother, the truly Godlike course of action is to go and talk to that brother.
“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.
The above passage is from the OT and parallels nicely with what Jesus said in Matthew 18 about confronting your brother who offends you. The reason is simple: Few wake up thinking “How can I make Steven’s life miserable?” or even if not miserable, just kinda mess him around. However, most of us act as if the particular offense we are complaining about was a deliberate action and premeditated.
I am not saying that no one ever creates problems in your life with deliberateness but most of the time, the offenses are unintentional because they failed to look from your perspective. If they had, the offender might have taken a different path or, if not possible, at least be more understanding in actions; perhaps share more information as to ‘why’ or just plain be nicer about how they did it.
Among brothers in the Lord, we are first of all brothers. But we are all sinners, guilty of offending and causing grumbling too. If we confront our brother and share what has happened, it can be fixed and if it isn’t fixed (because he is unwilling to), then at least you know where you stand and you don’t’ have to murmur about it. In fact, if it gets that far, the whole congregation will know, if you do what Matthew 18 says to do.
Failure to do this places us in a position to be judged just as we are placing ourselves in the position of judging. Keep in mind God is the judge. He can discern hearts, we cannot. This is why we need to talk with our brother so that they can reveal their heart. Since God is the judge, we simply need to do the best we can to keep peace among our brethren. Murmuring will not keep peace, it will destroy it.