I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are! – Job 16:2
What kind of friend are you when your friends go through difficult times? Job had experienced a lot of difficulty and hardship, but his friends did little to ease his pain. Their first thought was to look for some reason for the long list of calamities and directly accuse Job of having, in some way, sinned against God. They became judges when Job needed comforters.
When your friends suffer, which are you?
If someone you know is going through a difficult time, it is best to speak little and listen much. Often in hardship, people need to talk about it and if the problem is a result of their own bad choices, they won’t need you to tell them. They will come to that conclusion on their own. You may ask questions, but you will need to resist the desire to judge motives and actions. These are typically discernable by all.
And if a person’s suffering is an obvious result of sinful actions? God will give enabling grace to you both, but the aim is still consolation, not accusation.
Compassion costs. It is easy enough to argue, criticize, and condemn, but redemption is costly, and comfort draws from the deep. Brains can argue, but it takes heart to comfort. – Samuel Chadwick
Dr. David Pope is President and Founder of POPE Initiatives, a non-profit organization committed to providing executive-level management and support services for major global mission efforts.
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