JOB 6:14: “To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”
OBSERVATION: What kind of a friend am I? Am I a friend that cares more about my opinion than I do about the heart of another? Am I merciful to others like the Lord is merciful to me? The book of Job is a powerful book about friendship, or the lack thereof. Early into the first dialogue with Eliphaz, Job cries out – “I thought you were my friend! Shouldn’t a friend be kind? Shouldn’t a friend show mercy – even when a person is in error?” In essence Job was saying – “Even if I am guilty as you propose, can’t you at least be “kind”?”
The book of Proverbs exhorts friends to be honest with each other. A friend does not hold back the truth from another. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” – speaks of the loving correction a friend brings. Yet, in all these things a friend is to be loyal, merciful, and kind. Job’s friends were anything but that. They were judgmental, insensitive, and downright rude. They were “holier than thou” friends who were more interested in making their point than in comforting someone who was suffering.
When someone is hurting, when someone is walking in error because of a blind spot in their life, they need help – not condemnation. Recently my daughter sent me a video of a street preacher at the UNT campus who was yelling and condemning all those who walked by. I am always glad when someone is willing to proclaim the Gospel, but is that the Gospel? It is true that if people do not repent and believe that they are destined for hell – but do you attract flies by using vinegar or by using honey. Scripture says it is the “goodness” of God that leads people to repentance.
So I come back to the question – What kind of a friend am I? Am I a friend that sticks closer than a brother? Am I a friend that shows mercy and longsuffering, while sharing the truth in love, showing compassion, and praying for my friend’s restoration? Am I a friend that remembers that I am always one step away from falling – but by the Grace of God!?
Lord, forgive me for the times I have been a miserable comforter like Job’s friends. Help me to emulate Your heart, Your mercy, Your longsuffering, Your compassion. All the things that I often take for granted, that You daily extend to me – may I freely extend to others! Lord Jesus, thank you for being both my Lord and my friend! Live through me today. Help me be a better friend! In Jesus Name!