James said that the tongue is “a world of iniquity” (James 3:6). Indeed, there are numerous sins that can be committed by or aided with the misuse of the tongue. When one thinks of the sins that are committed with the tongue, he often thinks of things such as lying, speaking blasphemies, using profanity, and gossip. However, we rarely consider complaining to be a sin.
Americans are granted the freedom of speech, and many of us exercise this right with pride and passion. We think very little of voicing a criticism or complaint about another’s driving on the highway or service at a restaurant. We see it as our civic duty to complain about our elected officials. We feel that the price we paid for admission to a sporting event gives us the right to let the players, coaches, and umpires know if they are doing a lousy job. We even have careers that are based upon the practice of criticism (restaurant critic, movie critic, etc.). Our society abounds with criticism. For this reason, some Christians have a difficult time viewing complaining and criticizing as a sin.
Continue reading » The Sin of Complaining
Among the works of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19-21, sandwiched between “hatred” and “jealousy,” is a little word, “contentions.” A little word, but a great sin. A child I know once asked his mother to tell him what an “image” was so that he would never bow down before one. In like manner, it behooves us to define—or rather, to allow the Holy Spirit to define—this “contention” so that we may not fall prey to it, “for we are not ignorant of [Satan’s] devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
We should note that the word translated “contentions” (and also “strife” ) in the NKJV is the greek word eris, and the dictionary definition is:
Strife, quarrel, contention
1.Battle-strife 2.Quarrel, strife, discord; wordy wrangling or disputation 3.Eris, a goddess who excites to war (sister of Ares) 4.Contention, rivalry (Liddell & Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon)
Specifically, we should note that the word has a military origin, indicating a spirit of war or rivalry—even infighting. This much secular input is useful, but we must go to the New Testament to get a true understanding of the meaning and application the Holy Spirit intended. Continue reading » Works of the Flesh: Contentions (Variance, Strife)