Sunday, January 16, 2011

About Those Friends

Job had some good friends, didn't he? Who doesn't need more people around to kick them when they're down? The problem I have is that it's exactly what most of us do today.

We blame the victim. Oh, we feel genuinely sorry for their pain, but it never would have happened if they would have done ____?  See how easy that was. We empathize with them and then correct them. It's a win win situation. We get points for caring, and they get the solution to their problems.

Think about it, Job just lost all of his possessions, his children, and now his health, and they reprove him for expressing his sorrow. They even have the nerve to tell him that it is obvious that all of this is happening simply because of some sin in his life.

Some friends!

There are numerous reasons for their poor actions, but I'm going to look at it from a theological perspective. One of the greatest dangers with our understanding of God, is that of over simplificaton. Here these "friends" are guilty of using the equation good = blessings and bad = cursing. Job is suffering, so they graciously point out his need to repent.

The problem of course, is that sin isn't the problem. Job was righteous in all that he did. His friends weren't aware of this fact, so they proceeded to accuse him all the more. In their minds their assumptions had to be right, that's just how things work.

There is a lesson to be learned from all of this. Before we attempt to show the error of one in need, we should first seek to comfort and strengthen them. The hurting will often cry out as Job had, in pain, despair, and even anger. Let's not attempt to "correct" their cries. And most importantly never assume to know the reasons for their suffering.
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