Passion/ Palm Sunday 14 April

 9Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged.

See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 10As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

I like to “grumble.” It feels good to whine and complain about the sorry state of the world or the petty discomforts of my little life. This is not fair. It should not be this way. They should behave differently. The list of complaints goes on and on.

But complaining is not just an innocent pastime. There is a price to pay. “The Judge is standing at the doors!” This “Judge” is not a big mean figure waiting to punish me with glee when I infringe one of the prescribed codes of conduct. This “Judge” is just a way of talking about the fact that thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions have consequences.

When I live in my complaining, whining, blaming, grumpy mode, I am always shifting responsibility for my life to someone or something else. I am saying, “If only you were different, or this circumstance were different, then I would be content with my life.”

Apart from being a foolish lie and illusion, this practice of shifting the blame for my inner state to something other than myself, is a choice to live in spiritual immaturity.

No matter how constrained my external circumstances may be, or how irritating and dysfunctional the people in my life may be, I always have a choice how I will respond. This is “the law of liberty” about which James writes (James 1:25, 2:12). It is this law by which I will “be judged.”  The “law” is not a question of how I have measured up to some external code of conduct; it is a question of how I have lived in the precious liberty granted to me as a child of God.

Grumbling is an inner attitude that hurts me and hurts others. Like every sin, it is its own punishment. I could be free. I could choose to live in that freedom “for which Christ has set me free.” (Galatians 5:1) When I choose not to live in this freedom I suffer and those around me suffer.