“Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” ~ James 5:9.

Grumbling is one of those dark “one another” verses the Bible mentions. This is a wicked good slipper of sin if ever there was one. It’s so easy to slip on. If I were to give you permission to let loose and start griping about everything in your life there is to gripe about, you could have yourself a good pity-party. And would you feel good afterwards? Not a bit.

Because grumbling is the opposite of encouragement. When you encourage someone, you build them up, the way Barnabas (whom the Bible calls the son of encouragement because he was so good at it) could walk into a room and immediately lighten everyone’s heart and infuse them with hope.

And for a Christian, there’s always hope. To God, every day is like a spring day. There’s no ‘shadow of turning’ with God, we sing. He doesn’t have to set his clock back this weekend. Or hunker down to endure a long, cold winter. Even in the bleakest moment, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ.

But the Grumbler forgets this or knows nothing about this. (The Grumbler – I think he’d be a good villain on Batman. Imagine him standing next to the Joker.)

The Grumbler doesn’t build up; the Grumbler tears down. The Grumbler sucks hope out of the room and out of the heart. The Grumbler weakens the faith that God summons us to have. And that’s how you know you’re in the presence of the Grumbler – by what they do to you.

An encourager like Barnabas still can point out things that are wrong, and that need to be corrected. But they do so in a way that inspires you to action. The Grumbler can only see the problem and not the solution. They can see the cloud behind every silver lining. They say of hope, “There is none,” and of faith, “That won’t work.”

For that reason we are not to do this to one another. So don’t you be responsible for inflicting this on a brother or sister in Christ. Resist the pity party. Summon hope. Look up, not down. Fix your eyes on Jesus today.