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  #1  
Old May 17, '12, 4:14 am
Jaypeeto4 Jaypeeto4 is offline
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Question Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

I hear some people say or write that "murmering" or complaining to, or questioning God,
in frustration (sometimes due to unanswered needful prayers, or perhaps in outrage over what seems an outrageously unjust/unfair situation) is "mortally" sinful.

I really wonder about this, if that is the case, really.
Yes, the Israelites were punished in the desert for murmering against God,
but they were also rebelling against Moses AND saying, over and over, that they wanted to "go back to Egypt" where at least they had garlics and leeks instead of
"this wretched Manna" that God was providing from Heaven,
after God had worked stupendous miracles, 10 of them in fact plus the Parting of the Waters, to free them from Brutal Slavery, and they ALL saw all those things.
That seems very different from common complaining to God about really bad or unfair things or asking Him why He allows this or appears to blessing a really mean and evil person, when OUR prayers for help sometimes seem to be going unanswered.

How can this latter be "mortally sinful?"
If it IS, then JOB, DAVID, MOSES, and a host of other bible prophets and leaders
were in mortal sin many times, because scripture is full of, and records, their loud complaints to God. JOB, who was suffering when he was trying to live righteously, complained like crazy (Understandably!!! If you read the book and see what he was going through) that God was being unfair to Him. While God in the end castigated him for saying such things, the book of Job ends up affirming that "in all this, Job did not
sin with his lips." Moses, when God was punishing the Israelites with plagues, bluntly told God that "if you aren't going to save these your people, then KILL ME TOO."
Yet nowhere is it said that Moses "sinned" at all by issuing this frustrated challenge to God.

Similarly, the Psalms are chock full of David's complaints to God about his situations.
My God, My God, why have you Forsaken me? on David's lips,
is NOT a pious prayer. Read it in context. It is an angry and frustrated question to God,
yet we are never told that David sinned at all by saying this.
The Prophets in frustration ask God why the wicked are prospering so.
Jeremiah says to the LORD, in apparent frustration and shock,
You TRICKED Me!! LORD, you tricked me!
JONAH complained angrily that God did not carry through his threat to
destroy Ninevah, yet God is nowhere recorded as telling Jonah that for this complaint
he has placed himself outside the sphere of salvation (what we call Mortal Sin).
I could go on and on citing the psalms and prophetic writings, full of complaints to God, and questioning of His doings, by usually-very-holy people, yet God never tells them that they are now "outside of his friendship" (in mortal sin) for "blaspheming Him" by these questions and complaints.

So how is it that some theologians tell us that such things are
"blasphemy" because we are complaining to, or questioning God,
and thus mortally sinful?? We are told, in several versions of the "examen of conscience" that we should feel guilty about or confess complaining to God.
I wonder what others, with moral theology knowledge, think about this, what seems
to me COMPLEX question. We are intelligent beings in relationship with a Creator whom we cannot see and directly discuss things with, back and forth, in conversation, and face sometimes really VERY FRUSTRATING and even EVIL situations, sometimes after praying fervently for help. I pray, for example, fervently for help in certain situations, and it seems the help doesn't come, yet I'll see, at the same time, friends, whom I know do not even BELIEVE in God and thus never pray, or who are mean, nasty people,
RECEIVING the help, the same help, that I've been asking for in prayer but not receiving
((when I truly need it in order to be able to help somebody, for example)), yet I'll see sometimes a nasty person get that very same help, who DOES NOT use it then to help anybody. I sometimes don't get it myself, and ask questions, sometimes in frustration, because I truly don't understand this. So HOW can this questioning be "mortal sin???"
ALL relationships involve frustration and questioning, so how is this, itself,
mortally sinful??
Thanks for your informed input in adance.
God love all of you!!
Jaypeeto4
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  #2  
Old May 17, '12, 4:49 am
phoooiee phoooiee is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

There is a big difference between complaining while believing that God is wrong and complaining in obedience and submission. Perhaps looking for this distinction may help to clear things up?
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  #3  
Old May 17, '12, 4:52 am
DaveBj DaveBj is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

If it is, then I'm in trouble, 'cause I was really complaining to God this morning about the disturbing dreams I was having last night. "I've got enough trouble keeping my real-world life straight, without waking up with those thoughts fresh on my mind."
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  #4  
Old May 17, '12, 4:58 am
etmom etmom is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

I have done my fair share of "complaining" and taking my grief, anger and pain to God since our infant son died last summer. I have confessed this several times, my priest does NOT consider it a sin at all, at least in my circumstances, once he absolved me saying something before the absolution like "IF there was any sin involved....I absolve you...." after telling me that I was not in a state of sin over this.
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  #5  
Old May 17, '12, 6:04 am
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JRKH JRKH is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

Jaypeeto4,

You raise a very good question here and one that we all need to deal with at some point or another.

To be truthful - the best person to help answer your question is probably a confessor or spiritual director. That said, I will offer just one simple rule that helps me...

A mortal sin requires - before all else - a rejection of God and God's salvific plan. The components outlined in the Catechism really build off of this underlying principle.
If - at the end of your frustrated complaining and questioning - you can say, with all faith and sincerity, "Not my will but your will be done", then you have most likely not sinned - and certainly you have not sinned mortally...

Anyway - That is my simple take on the matter...

Peace
James
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.... if I have all faith so as to move mountians but have not love, I am nothing. - (1Cor 13:2)


The Best book on Spirituality that I ever Read: "The Fulfillment of All Desire"

Oh my God , I will continue
to perform, all my actions
for the love of Thee
Amen.
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  #6  
Old May 17, '12, 6:23 am
Equites Christi Equites Christi is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

Well think of it this way: If you have complaints, and God is omniscient, then in a sense you can't help but complain to Him, or you can't help but have your complaints known to Him.

Like others have said, it would be wrong to complain to God in disobedience or disrespect. But I think complaining to Him in a spirit of trust and steadfast obedience can actually be a good thing, since it increases our honesty and therefore opens more of ourselves to Him.
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  #7  
Old May 17, '12, 6:27 am
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chevalier chevalier is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

Plenty of saints would have committed plenty of sin if just about any manner of "complaining" were sinful. some of the saints have said things many of us would be afraid to say.
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  #8  
Old May 17, '12, 7:02 am
piejesu piejesu is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chevalier View Post
Plenty of saints would have committed plenty of sin if just about any manner of "complaining" were sinful. some of the saints have said things many of us would be afraid to say.

Like Teresa of Avila who, after one of life's unexpected catastrophes, said to God, "it's no wonder you have few friends, if you treat them all like this!"
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  #9  
Old May 17, '12, 5:15 pm
DaveBj DaveBj is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

I believe that our voicing our complaints to God does nothing to increase his knowledge of them, but it might work well to make us feel better by getting them off our chests.
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  #10  
Old May 17, '12, 10:27 pm
Jaypeeto4 Jaypeeto4 is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

Thanks everybody for your comments !!!
(( Sorry I took so long to reply. After I typed the first post,
I had to leave for work, was out all day, exhausted after church tonight,
got home,
got a horrible shock, a favorite entertainer,
my beautiful, golden-voiced Donna Summer died today, so I'm ready to sob
right now, because I adored her )).

Anyway,
I confess that I did have to chuckle at the advice / exhortation to
complain in a "spirit of faith, trust and obedience," because
though I'm sure this was meant very very well,
I have to confess that I would have no IDEA how to complain in a
spirit of trust and faith, because I am complaining for the very reason
that I do NOT, in fact, understand and that what is happening makes
no moral sense to me at all. I am **not** categorically telling God that He is
"wrong," but I am asking Him how such things can be RIGHT,
if you know what I mean.
Plus, I feel interiorly, at times,
"WHY pray for help, when what I'm asking for is desperately needed,
yet those who DON'T pray ((and I know they don't, some have even
told me bluntly that they don't believe in the existence of any God at all)),
when those who DON'T pray get what I'm begging for when I DO pray, but
don't get?? And SOME who get what I am praying for, (and they aren't)
are downright mean, willful, and malicious??
(( And I'm not asking for luxuries for myself, by the way )).

Anyway, God love every last one of you for sharing
your thoughts and input !!
Peace and blessings,
Jaypeeto4
+JMJ+
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  #11  
Old May 26, '12, 9:59 pm
Jaypeeto4 Jaypeeto4 is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

Like Teresa of Avila who, after one of life's unexpected catastrophes, said to God, "it's no wonder you have few friends, if you treat them all like this!"

Well, if Teresa of Avila said things like this,
and wasn't in mortal sin for it (God shows no partiality, not even to Saints.
In fact, to him or her to whom much has been given, much more will be required,
so her saintliness and gifts from God could have been held against her by God
for this remark),

then I am not in mortal sin for my frustrated complaints to God.

I told Him today, after weeks of frustration and unanswered pleas:

Lord God, I know that you will answer prayers of mine that you decide to answer,
but I confess (not brag) that I have no faith or trust that you will
grant this particular and very needful thing that I have been asking for,
because you haven't granted it so far and I have been asking for it for a long time,
while other folks, whom I know for a fact need it far less than I do,
and You know that too,
are getting it WITHOUT asking you and in fact most of them do not even believe
in, nor pray to, You. And yet they are getting what I actually need and am praying for,
without any prayerful effort at all on their part, and that is extremely frustrating, baffling, and infuriating to me, God.
I am not mad at YOU, God, upset yes, but not mad ---- but I am
extremely angry about the SITUATION, yes, I am.
So even though it upsets me extremely, I will accept,
because I have no choice other than to accept, your Decision in this matter
for as long as it remains Your Decision.

This is no different, though a lot more wordy,
in principle, that what Teresa of Avila said.
The prophet Jonah, when God failed to destroy Ninevah,
was absolutely Livid. When God asked him if he was upset about it,
Jonah spouted back, YES!!! Angry enough to DIE!!!
--- yet we are nowhere told that THAT put Jonah in a state of mortal sin, either.

Thanks to all above for your comments and sorry for taking so long to reply.

Love and peace to all,
Jaypeeto4
+JMJ+
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  #12  
Old May 26, '12, 10:15 pm
Elizabeth502 Elizabeth502 is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

I was told by one of my confessors that it's OK to complain to God, but that I should do so as a daughter to a father, in a spirit of obedience, sincerity, and intimacy.
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Old May 26, '12, 11:18 pm
Jaypeeto4 Jaypeeto4 is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

Hi Elizabeth !!
Good comment, thanks.

But come on. Who, when they are upset enough to complain to begin with,
complains in a spirit of obedience and gentleness and trust???
I have never seen that happen.
People complain because they are UPSET, not because
they are filled with submission and trust.

Now, the ancient Israelites, in the desert, weren't merely complaining
for a just cause.
They had just been released from horrific, abusive, grossly degrading slavery,
slavery in which the state REQUIRED THEM to drown all of their firstborn baby boys
--- murder their own babies by the tens of thousands ---, treated lower than pigs by
the Egyptians, brutalized by them. God had just set them free, through stupendous miracles, opening the red sea for them and CLOSING it over Pharoah's army, which was coming to butcher them, and thus had just stupendously liberated them.
And then, because they didn't have luxuries (( garlics, leeks, and onions!!! )), these
people started B***TCHING at Moses and griping about God because of
the Manna, which they called "this wretched food."
THIS was, I believe, grossly unjustified and outrageous complaining.
Yes, the desert was hot. So was Egypt. Yes, they were having to walk a lot.
But that's a lot less stressful than making bricks in the blistering sun 12 hours a day.
They were griping about wanting to go BACK to their evil slavemasters so that they
could have onions and garlics and leeks.
That kind of complaining is different. They HAD everything they needed,
God was clearly, and EVIDENTLY, in control, and they had nothing to worry about.

I am not in that same fortunate boat. At least, if I am, it is not evident to me,
as it was to them.
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  #14  
Old May 27, '12, 9:07 am
Elizabeth502 Elizabeth502 is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaypeeto4 View Post
Hi Elizabeth !!
Good comment, thanks.

But come on. Who, when they are upset enough to complain to begin with,
complains in a spirit of obedience and gentleness and trust???
I have never seen that happen.
People complain because they are UPSET, not because
they are filled with submission and trust.
[GENTLENESS - child to father] "Father, I don't know how to handle this. [HONESTY] I'm very hurt by the current circumstances of my life. Despite my faithfulness to you, nothing seems to go right (in ___category, or several categories). [RESPECT] Have I done something to offend you? [PETITION] Please show me, if I have. [OBEDIENCE] You know how much I love you and how close I want to be with you, as your daughter. [FAITH] I know that you don't allow crosses in my life without providing me the grace to carry them. And I know that you allow these crosses for my purification and my ultimate closeness to you. It's difficult for me to see that right now, because my pain overwhelms me. [TRUST] With your grace, Father, I know that I will have the means to see, or at least trust, during this period of blindness, that you are allowing this for a reason."
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  #15  
Old May 27, '12, 2:51 pm
wcknight wcknight is offline
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Default Re: Is Complaining To God Always a Sin? A Mortal Sin?

I don't think it is a sin at all, unless it were completely unwarranted.

Every time I get caught in a down pour, I muttered, You could have waited a few more minutes (or hours).
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