Question:

Hi Jeff,

I hope you're doing well. I would like some advice on whether my mom's actions are okay or not. She works very hard. In my opinion she's the hardest working member of the family, but she has a habit of grumbling when other people enjoy seemingly undeserving luxuries.

For example, one of my aunts, is a widow and has children. She had an accident almost a decade ago, in which, she also lost her husband. She's been unemployed since then, as she claims to be affected physically to this day, by the injuries obtained. She receives financial help from my parents and several other relatives of hers. She and her children(who are still studying) also spend lavishly at times when they could've saved. My mom feels she's using the accident as an excuse to not work and enjoy life without any effort on her part. Sometimes I get the same feeling too, looking at her and her children's behavior, but then I don't know how serious her injuries and its effects actually are and losing a member of the family in an accident can be really traumatic. So, I try to keep telling my mom that maybe God is just taking extra care given the circumstances.

We're fortunate enough to live on our own, but my mom constantly grumbles to me about such things. She also grumbles when my cousins borrow money from my dad and spend it all on unnecessary things and delay the repayment.

While such behavior could be justified from a worldview perspective, what does the Bible say about it?

Thanks for taking your time to read my mail, looking forward to your response


Answer:

The problem with grumbling is that the complaints being raised are to the wrong person. Let's assume that your mom is correct and your aunt is taking advantage of her situation to avoid work. That would be wrong because Paul pointed out: "For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread" (I Thessalonians 3:10-12). The fact that she is not careful with the money she receives is also a hint that she is not living as she ought to live. However, how does your mother complaining about this situation to you solve the problem? "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother" (Matthew 18:15).

Grumbling is unproductive. For example, if she doesn't like the fact that your dad gives your cousins money, then she should be talking to your dad about it. By taking it to other people, the problem remains unresolved, and leads to the conclusion that either she didn't like the answer your father gave or she would rather complain than face him. "Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!" (James 5:9).

The best response you can give your mom is to tell her that you're are not the one she has a problem with, so telling you is only avoiding getting the problem solved.