Thousands of years ago a man was sick and his three friends turned up with the intent to comfort him. I say intent because it was anything like that. That encounter we have nicknamed Job’s comforters. I wonder though how we are encouraging one another?
If you want to help others, listen with your heart as well as your ears; try not to make your experience the only test of truth. We all “know in part”.1 Corinthians 13:9
This verse gives some practical advice. You see these so-called friends were all drawing on their own experiences and judging Job from that perspective.
Listen to how the first friend talks to Job a very sick man in chapter 4 of the book of Job. The so-called friend is named Eliphaz and he asks Job why he does not practise what he preaches (4:1–6). Then he tells Job that sinners always reap what they sow (4:7–11), suggesting that it was Job’s fault that he was sick – what encouragement! Let’s have some more of that eh. Well Eliphaz, not finished yet, then draws on his own experience with God.
You see the issue is that the word of God does not change, but experiences do. We are all different, and God deals with each of us in ways suitable to our needs, our natures and our level of maturity.
Finally, Eliphaz ends by informing Job to go and seek God in chapter five and also to repent. If he did God would bless Job again.
Why? Because that is how Eliphaz had experienced God in his own mind. Let me say Eliphaz was totally misguided and not representing God at all. If you need encouragement today let me point you to God the Father Let me end with an acronym of how I believe God as Father is and how He will speak to you.
- F is for “FORGIVING.” Even when we disobey or do something wrong, this person is willing to forgive us.
- A is for “ATTENTIVE.” When we need someone to talk to, this person is willing to listen to what we have to say.
- T is for “TEACHER.” This person teaches us the most important lessons of our lives. He teaches us right from wrong. He teaches us by example how to love one another.
- H is for “HELPFUL.” This person helps us to make the important decisions we face each day. He may offer advice, or he may just be a good listener, but he is always there to help us.
- E is for “ENERGETIC.” No matter how tired we are, this person always has the energy to do things with us and for us.
- R is for “READY.” This person is always ready to reach out in love to us. He is ready to do whatever we need.
Stay safe and blessed