I’ve decided to share one of the lessons that I have learned this summer.
I don’t want to be like Job’s friends.
A few months ago our pastor preached a sermon about Job, which included thoughts on his friends. I have been contemplating it ever since. I have come to the conclusion that Job’s friends are still around and that I don’t want to be like one of Job’s friends.
Have you ever been talked to by one of Job’s friends? Maybe it went something like this, “I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. God must be trying to teach you a really important lesson.” Now we all know that difficult times and trials that come our way definitely do something to our character, either for better or for worse, but when you are in the midst of a trial, to be told that “God must be trying to teach you something” is like vinegar to the wound. That makes the trial worse not better.
I have a few friends whose children are suffering from severe health issues. One of these moms commented awhile ago that she had become keenly aware of judgmental people since they had started battling with the health issues. And that it hurt to drop some friendships, but she has to put her energy into her child, not into high-maintenance relationships. Another said that she doesn’t ever want to hear that “God never gives anyone more than they can handle.” Her point being that, many are given more than they can handle, but with God all things are possible. One mom was told that her child had a disability because she (the mom) didn’t have enough faith in God. When my brother was still alive, somebody told him that if he had more faith, he would be healed. My brother told me, “That man just doesn’t know. It takes more faith to keep believing, even when you’re not cured. Being healed would be the easy route.” One man at my brother’s memorial service kept saying to my sister-in-law, a new widow that “It was God’s will. Right? Right?”
Well, there may be an ounce or even a pound of truth in some of these comments, but they are just not comforting. Maybe Job’s friends had truth in what they were saying, but they were not helping Job at all. Too often as Christians, we make comments that sound like they came straight out of the mouths of Job’s friends.
So have you met Job’s friends? If, so be strong and of a good courage. Job was rewarded for being faithful even when his friends tempted him. Or have you been one of Job’s friends? I know I have acted the part of Job’s friends a few times. I want to be changed. I find this commendation to be very fitting. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Galatians 6:2, 3.
Lord, help us to be filled with Your love and to lift the burdens of those who are being especially tried, and please forgive us for when we have made others burdens even heavier.