“After Job had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant will pray for you. And I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me which is right as my servant Job has.” Job 42:7-9
After my husband lost his job in Chicago we spent months trying to sell our house. The recession has just hit and homebuyers were jittery about buying house. After several months went by, I talked to the pastor of congregational care and asked if he could pay a visit to our house to cheer us up.
After a short visit where we shared what we’d been through in the last year, we decided to share about an investment where we’d put some of our savings. But far from being enthusiastic, he decided to give us a reality check.
“You’ll never get that money back,” he blurted out with amazing confidence. “I’ve seen investments like that and they never work.”
We were working our way towards broke and needed prayer. What we got was an uneducated opinion. I kicked myself for ever inviting one of Job’s friends over for coffee. Why was I so stupid?
In the above scripture, God reminds us to be very careful with those bearing weighty burdens. Tread lightly with those suffering and don’t always suggest that the victim has brought the situation on himself. And even if he has, where does, “I told you so,” help anyone. Yes, Job’s friends sat down with him in the ash heap as they watched him scrape his boils with pieces of broken pottery but their “wisdom” only sunk Job to lower levels of despair.
We all need encouragement whether we have done something stupid or something stupid has been done to us. Life is hard. You and I must not make it harder by dumping unnecessary guilt on someone’s head.
Note that the “friends” of Job were personally chastised by God. Their pride and arrogance let God to tell them they needed offer a sacrifice for how they treated Job. Now that’s a scary thought. It should make us all cautious about giving advice.