Daily D – Job 16:1-5

by | Jan 7, 2022 | Daily D | 0 comments

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Job 16:1-5  Then Job replied: 
“I have heard many things like these;
you are miserable comforters, all of you!
Will your long-winded speeches never end?
What ails you that you keep on arguing?
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.
But my mouth would encourage you;
comfort from my lips would bring you relief. (NIV)

The Dennis the Menace cartoon characters were turned into a live-action movie in 1993. Dennis is a curious kid discovering opportunity after opportunity to create chaos. At one point in the movie, Mr. Wilson exclaims, “A catastrophe of this magnitude has to be somebody’s fault.”

Today’s news headlines are full of faultfinding and blame-shifting. Spend a few minutes perusing a news aggregator like Apple News and notice who’s blaming whom. The Washington Post and National Review naturally and predictably posted totally opposite headlines yesterday regarding the same set of facts. 

If a person gets COVID, someone gets the blame. I spent some time posting quotes on Twitter yesterday from the speakers at the conference I am attending. It was impossible not to notice how most tweets were from cranky people cranking out cranky posts regarding people they do not know up close and personal. 

Just because a person is free to say whatever he or she wants to say does not mean he or she should say it. It is never too early to shut up. It is never too early not to tweet. It is never too early to avoid opining on Facebook. Why not rather go to Instagram and look at Casey Lester’s photos of her little ones and videos of border collies? (Casey is the virtual assistant extraordinaire who creates social media for my channels. She is also the mother of two of the cutest little guys you will ever see. And I think all dogs should be border collies.)

It is lucky indeed for Job that social media was not an issue for him. Can’t you imagine what his friends would have posted? As it was, he replied to their speeches with these words: 

“I have heard many things like these;
you are miserable comforters, all of you!
Will your long-winded speeches never end?
What ails you that you keep on arguing?”

Just a thought: When someone is in agony, it is not the time to assess blame and to solve their problems, especially when you think that person himself or herself is the problem. Hold your friend and withhold your blame. There will be plenty of time for a post-mortem later. 

Job goes so far as to say what he needs from his friends by describing how he would treat them if the situation was reversed:

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.
But my mouth would encourage you;
comfort from my lips would bring you relief.

Deep grief and painful loss call for encouragement and comfort. Stop talking and start serving. 

What was true for Job and his friends so close to the beginning of time is also true for us so close to the end of time. The order of operations in times of deep grief and loss places blame and correction well after comfort and encouragement. 

Who do you know who is hurting? What is the most encouraging and comforting thing you can do right now? Do it. 

If he or she ever gets around to considering blame and correction, handle it gently. The wounds have probably not healed as much as they appear. Gentleness and kindness are always in order. 

I will remain silent unless I can bring encouragement and comfort with what I say.

Our Father, instruct my tongue to stay still when I have nothing edifying to say. Shut my mouth against hurtful expressions. Deliver me from the need to be heard. Place your thoughts of kindness and gentleness in my mind. Place your words of comfort and healing in my mouth. Empower me to embrace another person’s pain only to take it away. Amen.

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