What Does The Bible Say About Complaining

The Bible has a lot to say about complaining. For centuries its inspiration has been used to lift communities and individuals out of despair and forge a way forward. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, there are many verses that speak to the issue of complaining. It warns us about the consequences of doing so, encourages us to replace it with praise, and teaches us how to respond when we are tempted to complain.

One of the primary warnings from the Bible is that complaining can be a sign of unfaithfulness. Proverbs 17:1 tells us that “a happy heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Similarly, Proverbs 14:30 warns us that “a heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” In other words, by having too much faith in our own complaints, we are losing sight of God’s wisdom and therefore are in danger of having an ungrounded spirit.

The Bible also encourages us to turn away from complaining by teaching us to focus on joy and gratitude instead. Somewhere in the Bible, Paul exhorts us to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” The apostle Paul is not only reminding us to be joyful in the power of the Lord but also teaching us to replace complaining with praise. As Paul explains in his New Testament letter to the Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Lastly, the Bible teaches us the proper way to respond when we are tempted to complain. When faced with such an impulse, we are encouraged to pray silently and to have faith in God’s goodness instead. In Philippians 2:14, Paul reminds us, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent,” while 1 Peter 5:7 specifically encourages us to “Cast all your anxiety on God.” It is in these moments that we must turn to God for help and remain faithfully in Him.

The Bible has much to say about complaining; it warns us of its potentially damaging effects, teaches us to replace it with praise, and encourages us to turn to God when we feel tempted to complain. By following the teaching of the Bible, we can stay grounded in our faith and experience the freedom of a heart that does not murmur.

The Consequences of Complaining

The Bible is clear that there can be consequences to spending too much time complaining. According to the Psalms, complaining erodes the happiness in our lives by disconnecting us from God. In Psalm 35:19, we are warned that “the Lord rejects those who have a proud look or cherish false related thoughts.” We are further urged to seek God’s wisdom in order to cast away our worries and be renewed.

The Bible also warns us that too much complaining can trap us in a cycle of negative thinking and set us up for failure. Proverb 15:18 tells us that “resentful thoughts lead only to poverty and trouble,” while Proverbs 18:21 teaches us that “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” By speaking ill of others and complaining about our situations, we can create an environment of bitterness and a lack of encouragement and hope for one another.

Last of all, the Bible admonishes us to never forget the power of our own words and that our complaints can sometimes reflect our spiritual complacency. As James 5:9 states, “Do not grumble against one another, brothers, lest you be condemned.” We are being reminded of how easily our own thoughts and words become weapons of self-sabotage, repeatedly undoing the work of the Holy Spirit, and preventing us from finding true holiness and joy in our relationships with Him.

The Power of Gratitude

The Bible tells us that praise and worship should replace our complaints in order to fill us with joy and peace. Hebrews 13:15 encourages us to “by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” What this verse is telling us is that by offering praise and thanksgiving to God, we are filling ourselves and those around us with the Holy Spirit through our words.

By thanking God for our blessings and the gift of grace, we can shift our focus away from our complaints and towards what is good and holy. When we give thanks for He who gives us everything and love us unconditionally, we can experience a peace that surpasses all understanding and be filled with joy. As Psalm 92:1 teaches us, “It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, Most High,” for when we come before Him with humility and gratitude, He meets us there.

The Bible also speaks of the power of joy to bring us closer to God. In Romans 12:12, we are told that “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer,” while in Hebrews 10:24 we are admonished to “let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” By focusing on being joyful and prayerful instead of complaining, we are reminded of God’s beloved presence within us, which will guard us against temptation and restore us to true freedom.

Overcoming Complaining

The Bible encourages us to use the power of prayer to defeat complaining and to lift our spirits. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:6 that we should “pray to your Father in secret,” which means prayer simply involves speaking to God and getting in touch with our own heart. With the guidance of God’s Word, we can fill our hearts with gratitude, pour out our complaints and worries to Him, and find peace in His presence.

In addition, the Bible admonishes us to choose our words and actions carefully, so as to not cause harm to other people or ourselves. Proverbs 12:18 says that “thoughtless speech is like the stabs of a sword,” reminding us that our words can negatively impact ourselves and others. In order to avoid complaining, it is important to choose words of peace and love, and refusing to participate in any conversation that is unkind or disrespectful.

The Bible also teaches us to always remain thankful and to seek wisdom from God. Colossians 3:13 urges us to “be thankful in all circumstances,” and Romans 16:19 teaches us to “not be wise in our own opinion, but fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” By living in surrender to the Holy Spirit and trusting His generous guidance, we can always stay connected to our faith and taste of the freedom God offers us.

Turning Toward God in Prayer

The Bible encourages us to turn to God in prayer as our first response when we find ourselves tempted to complain. By getting in touch with our hearts, we can recognize the root of our discomfort, pour out our worries to God, and receive divine guidance. As Psalm 116:2 reminds us, “Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” Only through prayer can we truly experience the ultimate peace, love, and joy in our hearts.

The Bible also calls us to offer our complaints to God with humility and understanding. Instead of trying to take matters into our own hands, we must come to God in prayer, trusting that He hears us and that He will answer us in His perfect timing. Jesus says to us in Matthew 6:8, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Here, Jesus is reminding us that prayer is the ultimate source of comfort and refuge, and that by pouring out our worries to God, we can live in true freedom and peace.

Lastly, the Bible exhorts us to wait before we respond to unpleasant situations. The story of Joseph in Genesis clearly shows us that sometimes God’s timing and our own human timing do not match, and that we must give God space to work in our lives, trusting that He is doing so. In Ecclesiastes, we are reminded that “There is an appointed time for everything. A time for every event under heaven,” so that in every situation, we should look to God for guidance and trust Him to provide deliverance in the right time.

Replacing Complaining with Praise

The Bible encourages us to fill our minds and hearts with praise instead of complaints. By focusing on the glory of God, we can experience freedom from our worries and embrace a life that is truly joyful and peaceful. Jude 24 tells us to “to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy,” reminding us that when our hearts are filled with praise and joy, God will keep us from straying and bless us with His glorious presence.

The Bible also teaches us that instead of getting lost in complaints and grumbling, we should turn our eyes to Him and receive the challenging call to live a holy life. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we are exhorted to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” which is a reminder for us to keep our eyes fixed on Him and strive to live a life of holiness that brings Him glory.

Finally, the Bible reminds us that praise is a powerful weapon. Praise is a supernatural force that can break through any obstacle and open the door to true joy and freedom. Psalm 40:3 says “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God,” which conveys that the power of praise is limitless and capable of inducing the highest state of joy within us.


The Bible has much to say about complaining. It encourages us to not forget the power of our own words and its potential to destroy, and teaches us to turn to God in prayer and trust Him with our worries. It further admonishes us to replace our complaints with praise in order to fill our hearts with joy and look to Him for guidance on how to live a holy life. Lastly, the Bible calls us to take action in living out the admonishments of the Word by choosing our words carefully, by offering our complaints to God with humility, and by patiently waiting for His deliverance. With its divine wisdom, the Bible can help us fill our lives with God’s peace, love and joy.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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