Only when you are in a certain role do you understand all the complexities that go with the job.
Reference: v.4 I also could speak like you, if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. (TNIV Bible)
Explore: I have a friend who constantly threatens to leave the church that he attends. He doesn't like how the church spends its money, he doesn't like how they do pastoral care and he thinks that the church leadership should spend more time with him. He has left this church numerous times only to return when he hadn't found anything better. Having been a pastor of a church I find it difficult to sympathise with him. It's not that his points are not valid, however from the pastor's perspective I can imagine that he is just considered to be someone who whinges loudly and yet does little to help find the solution. It's these type of people that are not set on building the Kingdom of God but are just looking for a comfy pew where they can access everything they want. My friend will never fully understand what it is like to be a pastor of a church until he is in that position himself. Only when you are in a certain role do you understand all the complexities that go with the job. It's so easy to be critical of someone until you have walked in their shoes.
Application: It was great that Job had friends around him in his time of suffering however sometimes they were more of a hindrance than help. The judgements they placed on Job were almost as heavy as the suffering he was already experiencing. They thought that Job must have been very sinful to experience such grief, and they were not shy about letting him know this. They could not appreciate what Job was going through because they were not in that situation themselves. We must be so careful when we are sitting beside someone who is experiencing suffering. We can never know the full story or understand their full emotions, therefore we must tread carefully when giving them advice or sharing our opinions. Our words are powerful and could end up causing more concern than the intended comfort. Before we speak we need to consider, 'What would I need if I was walking in their shoes?'
Prayer: Lord, give us Your words of wisdom. And if we do not receive those words, may we stay silent. Amen.
When has someone's words caused you more harm? When has someone's words been an assistance to the healing process?
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.