“Do all things without murmurings and disputing” (Philippians 2:14)
This does seem like a wonderful scenario, to be able to do things without anyone muttering, mumbling or grumbling. No arguments or disputing, just let’s get together and let’s get things done. All parents know that this is impossible with kids, especially teenaged kids. And those in authority who supervise others have experienced a discontented murmur or two. But diving into to this passage from Philippians reveals somewhat of a different take than what we may think.
“Murmurings” from the Greek word, “goggysmos” does not mean to talk under your breath as we might presently think. There is more to it than that. It is a secret displeasure, a hot debate that we are suppressing or only expressing in a closed circle of friends and acquaintances. One of the primary differences between talking under our breath and “goggysmos” is that true murmuring is spreading our malice and discontent to others. The heat of discontent is elevated and exacerbated by the pressure of the closed circle. Just like heated water in a closed pressure cooker, angry words within a closed circle of friends will quickly boil up and explode.
“Do all things without disputing, wrangling, and debating one another; because the light of truth and the life of religion are often lost in the heats and mists of disputation’’ (Matthew Henry).
“Christian charity (love) disallows grudging”. (Matthew Poole).
“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging” (1 Peter 4:8-9).
True Christian love will diffuse the murmurings. This is all part and parcel of repentance. Discovering characteristics that are within ourselves that are inconsistent with God and righteousness. Discover it. Understand it. Be remorseful over it and then hand it over to Christ our Savior and repent of it for good. Don’t look back at a repented sin. Leave behind those sins, “which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
“Disputing” from the Greek, “dialogismos” is best described as “intellectual rebellion”. It stems from a rebellious nature of an, “I know better than you” attitude that tends to stew about the situation. Anyone who “disputes” isn’t really questioning what is said but rather who said it. A good example of this is when a superior gives a command that the subordinate doesn’t like. They resent the command and hesitate or even subvert the performance of it. What is actually happening is that the subordinate resents his status and stature.
“A querulous temper is the seed of almost all quarrels and slandering” (John Calvin)
Disputes and murmuring originate from an unchristian spirit. The root of both is pride. Our spirit influences our mind. Our mind controls the mouth. Get our spirit right and we will never have to worry or regret anything we say.
Post your comments below about this verse from Philippians.