Let’s consider an overlooked and little thought of sin. It’s brothers are grumbling, spitefulness, and complaining. It is a cousin to envy and greed. Its father is selfishness. While you may not see this specific sin in the pages of Scripture, its residue is all over the book. The sin was likely present when the children of Israel grumbled and complained against Moses. This sin was also likely expressed by Martha when Mary wouldn’t help her with the kitchen duties. And Euodia and Synteche in Philippians 4 were both probably guilty of this sin. And yet, it is not specifically named.
Perhaps that is why we may tend to excuse it. It remains hidden, elusively and sneakily slinking in the shadows of bigger, uglier, and seemingly more destructive sins. But believe you me, its there. Some of us are more prone to this sin by disposition, but all of us have been guilty of it at one time or another. We often give this sin control over us when we wake up in a less than pleasant way, hear some discouraging news, or some good news about someone we envy. When anxiousness gets the best of us and we disappoint ourselves, this sin is right there to turn our attention to something else. Most often, those closest to us feel this sin’s blunt blows more than anyone else because it shrinks away from the spotlight and eagerly masks itself with hypocrisy and flattery to the faces of those who don’t know us as well. But our spouse, children, brothers, sisters, parents, and perhaps even coworkers have likely, at one time or another, called us on it.
One morning, I had gotten up, gotten a good start to the day, gone to the gym and worked out. But in the quiet, short drive back to the house, frustrated emotions and worries had transfixed my attention on “what was wrong” with a certain situation I was facing. I came home in a less than pleasant way. And sure enough, there with my wife and son, came out this ugly, deplorable evil. Oh at the time I didn’t call it that. I just said I wanted to be quiet. That I wasn’t in a very good mood. That I had some things on my mind. But none of those excuses prevented my sharp tongue from cutting or my ill scowl from pushing those who love me the most away.
Perhaps you have been the conduit for this sin too. What sin you say? The sin of grumpiness. You know. That sin that’s “not so bad” but in many cases much worse because we excuse it and overlook it and minimize its damaging effects on those God has called us and created us to care for the most intimately. That sin that we pass off as ok until we have had “our morning cup of coffee.” Usually, in a household, one spouse falls victim to this sin more often than the other but all of us are prone to it. This sin is no respecter of age, financial status, or job. It does not take prisoners, but only creates victims in its wake. Sometimes it is most loudly heard in the “silent treatment” thrown at those who have caused some injury. Other times, it is most painfully felt in icy stares or unfiltered insults.
I am convinced we see grumpiness a lot like “Christian cussing.” You know what I mean. We all know the “bad words” that none of us are supposed to say. You just cussed in your head. Every one of you. Now don’t laugh too hard. I have heard some of you say those out loud. But we all have a list of “safe” words that are close to cuss words that we freely say to express our frustration. Yet what we fail to measure is the intent of our heart and the expression of our anger. Just because I don’t say the “bad word” doesn’t mean I was right. In the same way, we may not think our grumpiness is as bad as full blown anger, but have you ever stopped to think about its consequences? Your grumpiness with the slow service at the fast food restaurant for your morning coffee may infect the young girl at the window with your irritability so she proceeds to treat every customer after you with your venom. Or your grumpiness may steal the innocent joy of your child who comes in to show you their latest creation with the toilet paper and tissues expecting you to be as excited as they are. Only your grumpiness serves to dim the bright light in their eyes. Don’t worry. The next time they wont show you. Or your grumpiness may exasperate your already on edge spouse to the point of telling you exactly how he or she feels about your mopiness exploding your spark of grumpy behavior into a full blown haymaker between the two of you. You know, the one where you don’t talk for a while and one of you ends up in the guest bedroom or on the couch.
Grumpiness is a sin and must be confronted directly with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Regardless of how I feel and why I feel that way, He demands that my relational conduct with others be an expression of his holy kindness, love, forgiveness, and patience. He says as much in Ephesians 4:1-3:
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy ofthe calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Grumpiness and love cannot be bedfellows. For that matter, neither can grumpiness and kindness, forgiveness, patience, or gentleness. The antidote for such a sin is its regular, immediate, and deliberate crucifixion upon the same cross of Christ that paid the penalty for our sins and demands such swift justice against expressions that do nothing but cloak our resurrected lives with the horrid stench of our past deadness. Deal a death blow to grumpiness today. Your wife and kids may just thank you.