By Jan Brittain
Guest Clergy


James 5:9 says, “Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors!”

This verse is really another teaching on the sin of idolatry. Every time we judge others, we make ourselves God, for God is the only one who is worthy to judge.

What most of us don’t realize is how grumbling, whining and complaining about one another inside the church does so much damage to the church — God’s church. Do you want to weaken your local church, keep others away, and undermine your church’s witness and ministry to the community? All you have to do is grumble and complain about others inside your church.

Does that mean that we just sit back when we know things are not as they should be in the church?

Of course not. We do what we are told to do in Matthew 18. First we go directly to the person who we have a problem with and talk with them one on one, honestly. If we can’t correct the problem that way (which in my experience often yields results immediately through simple correction of misunderstanding.), we take one or two others along with us and try again. If that doesn’t work, then we bring in the leadership of the church.

Notice that in this process, there is no place where we believers go out and grumble against one another. The stakes are too high. What we do together reflects on the very Kingdom of God. Think about it this way … How we handle our dissatisfaction with each other inside the church is actually part of our witness. As I say to my staff — this is where we show just how good our God really is.

Prayer: Forgive me, O God, for those times when I have judged others, grumbled about their behavior and weakened your church. Amen.


The Rev. Jan Brittain is pastor at Williamson’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Mooresville. To read her daily scripture devotion, go to