Today’s Scripture Reading: Job 5:1 through Job 7:21
Have you ever had someone say to you, “If I were you, I would…?”
Have you ever gone through some type of tragedy, loss, or difficult time and had someone say, “I know how you feel,” when you knew they didn’t know.
It just does more harm than good doesn’t it?
“If I were you, I would” is exactly what Job’s friend Eliphaz said to him (Job 5:8). There was no “I’m sorry for your loss”, “this is such a tragedy”, “I have no idea how you must feel” or “what can I do to help you?”
Nope. There was nothing but condemnation and “If I were yous.”
Have you ever been an Eliphaz to a family member, friend, or co-worker?
Have you ever been an Eliphaz to someone in your church family?
I’m sorry to say that I certainly have. There have been times when I have kicked someone when they were down–put my foot in my mouth and swallowed it! Most of the time I didn’t do it on purpose; I just didn’t realize how my words were affecting them. There were way to many times when I didn’t say anything but I sure had Eliphaz thoughts.
So many times we completely avoid people who are grieving because we don’t know what to say. I sort of think it would have been good for Eliphaz to have stayed home and avoided Job that day. He certainly didn’t encourage Job.
Job said it best in chapter 6, verse 26:
Do you think your words are convincing when you disregard my cry of desperation?
Job needed someone to…
- Cry with him
- Acknowledge his pain
- Connect with him at the heart level
- Grieve with him
- Help him rebuild his life
- Comfort him
- Encourage him
- Let him talk
Job did not need someone to…
- Preach at him
- Criticize him
- Tell him what to say to God
- Say silly clichés like: “your loved ones are in a better place,” “God must’ve needed them in heaven”, etc
- Accuse Job of sin
Our commitment to love, acceptance, and forgiveness allows God to bring people to wholeness through restoration and spiritual formation.
Eliphaz was trying to bring Job to wholeness. While his intentions may have been to help, he actually did more to push him down than lift him up. All Job needed was someone to grieve with him. God and God alone is the only one who can bring us to wholeness.
As I bring this post to a close, my prayer is that I never become an Eliphaz to you as we take this journey. The fear of making that mistake could have kept me from starting the journey. But with the urging of the Holy Spirit, I stepped out on faith! My desire is to encourage you and lift you up in your relationship with Jesus Christ!
©2013, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Job 8:1 through Job 11:20