Sunday, June 12, 2011

Learning Not to Complain About Each Other

A sermon based on James 5:9-11, developed by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett

Verse 9 - Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door!
• Throughout the book of James the term “brothers” is used to refer to Christians.
• Christians are not supposed to complain about each other.
• The late Louis Binstock was a Jewish rabbi who penned the famous quote, “We are often our own worst enemies.” Though written to a Jewish constituency, this quote applies to Christians too.
• When we become stressed out by the difficulties and complexities of life, we often lash out at those around us.
• In our stress, we may attack family members or life-long friends or fellow church members.

The Relationship Institute in Royal Oak, Michigan, has identified three reasons why we lash out at those who are closest to us.
(Please note that the RI is not a Christian organization and therefore many of its conclusions would not be endorsed by the author. However, they do seem to have a good grasp on WHY people behave certain ways in relationships.)

1. Un-conscious recreation of emotional trauma.
• Whatever we experienced as children is what we consider “normal.”
• Therefore, when we feel stressed out, we tend to retreat to our “normal” place even if it is unhealthy.
• We must learn to cast all our anxiety on Christ instead of projecting them on others (1 Peter 5:7)

2. Trying to find a person who will give us the love we have always wanted.
• Since we feel most comfortable with whatever our version of “normal” is, we tend to seek love from those who have similar characteristics as people who were close to us as children.
• This may seem to work at first because we understand each other since we have the same view of “normal.”
• But eventually various issues will emerge, often the very same difficulties that we experienced as children. Then we feel less loved than ever.
• We must find our source of love in Christ.

3. We lack the skills to communicate our feelings in a constructive manner.
• Our culture does not do a good job of teaching us how to express our feelings in healthy ways.
• Therefore, we tend to express emotions in unhealthy ways. The people who are around us the most are the most frequent witnesses to our unhealthy expressions of emotions.
• We must ask the Lord to give us wisdom in how we express our emotions and to renew our personality into one more like Christ.

Verse 9 - Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door!
• When we fall to the temptation to complain and grumble about each other, we are in danger of being judged.
• The ultimate Judge is the Lord Jesus Christ who sees all, hears all and knows all.
• We cannot con The Judge about our actions or motives.
• The Judge stands at the door of our hearts looking into the window of our souls.
• Sometimes He is pleased with what He sees.
• Sometimes He is not pleased.
• Do we realize He is there all the time watching?
• Though we are thankful for His grace, let us not treat His grace with contempt.

Verse 10 - Brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord's name as an example of suffering and patience.
• James urges us to think of all the people in the Bible who endured difficulties and struggles.
• Though they experienced both success and their failure, they learned how to endure difficulties with a patience that only comes from understanding the grace and goodness of God.
• We can learn from every experience in life if we will view life from God’s perspective.
• When we are struggling with issues in our lives, instead of taking it out on those around us, we should strive to practice faithful patience as we wait on the Lord to renew our strength.
• This will be difficult, but with God’s help, it is possible.

Verse 11 - See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job's endurance and have seen the outcome from the Lord: the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
• People who have remained faithful to the Lord while enduring difficulties find a blessing in their struggles.
• We like to remember the blessings, but often forget that many blessings only come in the midst of difficulty.

James gives us the example of Job.
• Job lived around 2200 B.C.
• Job had ten children and great wealth.
• Job loved the Lord and was a man of great faith.
• Satan wanted to test Job and asked God for permission to take away all Job’s blessings.
• God gave His permission and Satan used a series of disasters to take away all of Job’s wealth and kill all Job’s children.
• Many people, including his wife, thought Job should abandon his faith in the Lord.
• Job went through a time of terrible depression. He lost his health and questioned God’s activities in his life. But Job refused to give up his faith.
• Job realized that God had a purpose and a plan and that if he would follow it, God would somehow turn a difficult situation into something good.
• God finally told Satan that Job has passed all his tests and forbid Satan from doing anything else.
• After this, God allowed Job to have ten more children and gave him twice as much wealth as Job had before.
• Job experienced much more loss than most people can imagine, and though it caused him great pain and made him ask questions about God, it did not destroy him or his faith.
• We can learn a lot about how to respond to difficulties from Job’s example.

Verse 11 - See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job's endurance and have seen the outcome from the Lord: the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
• When we are going through difficult times, we must remember that it is the outcome that is important, not the various details along the way.
• We must remember that the Lord is compassionate and merciful to us.

• When we are facing difficulties, we must resist the temptation to take our stress out on those around us.
• Instead, we should ask God to help us find healthy ways to deal with our stress.
• We should faithfully trust in the goodness of God as we wait for the final outcome of our temporary struggles.
• Through endurance, we find God’s blessing.

No comments:

Post a Comment