Quit Complaining

In the midst of his discussion of patience, James includes this practical admonition: “Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door” (James 5:9).

Whether the oppression James’s original audience was suffering came exclusively from without or was at least partially from brethren is a bit uncertain. Either way, James cautions against one of the commonest expressions of impatience: complaining.

When things do not go our way, we tend to get irritable. Even small matters that we might otherwise overlook seize our attention. Too often we take out our frustration on others, either unfairly blaming them or else griping about them or to them. Yes, this can happen at church! J. R. Dummelow paraphrases, “Do not let your irritation and soreness at outside oppression vent itself in impatience and grumbling towards one another.”

James reminds us that such complainers face a harsh judgment. And the judge is standing right at the door. While we may be anxious for Him to come and avenge others, James wants us to stop and consider whether we are ready for Him to judge us.

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