By Andrew Cartwright
“When Job’s three friends… heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes… to go and sympathize with him and comfort him”. – Job 2:11 NIV
How do you react when you hear of someone who is going through troubles? Job was a man who was “blessed and lived righteously, feared God and shunned evil,” (Job 1:1) but Satan gained permission from God to test him, and Job experienced the tragic loss of most of his family and possessions.
In spite of this, Job did not charge God with wrongdoing – he praised Him instead (Job 1:21-22). Job knew God’s character and chose to trust Him completely, even in the face of dire circumstances. The same cannot be said of Job’s friends. Though they were well-meaning and set out to encourage him, most of what they said was discouragement and criticism, including of God! God ultimately restored Job’s wealth and family, but He was angry with Job’s friends.They had “not spoken what is right,” (Job 42:7) and Job had to pray for their forgiveness.
In his book, A Tale of Three Kings, Gene Edwards admonishes us to “not become a spear-thrower,” and to “stay out of the company of all spear-throwers”. So when we hear of someone who is going through troubles, let’s not be quick to condemn. Rather, let’s sow love and encouragement with our words. Be an encourager, because you never know when you may need kind words yourself.
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