When tragedy strikes friends, do you know what to say to comfort them? They need sympathy, encouragement, and love, not judgment. There is a lesson in the Bible about a man whose friends didn’t know what he needed to hear. They judged him… well here is the story.
Job was a good man, faithful to God. Satan challenged God that he would make Job turn from God. Satan’s idea was to tempt Job to rebuke God. That is Satan’s delight if he can cause a good person to turn their back on God.
Job was wealthy. Satan took all his wealth. Job had children. Satan caused his children to die. Job was at the end of his rope but still he did not deny God. Then Satan took his health. He caused to Job to have boils all over his body. Job was miserable. His wife urged him to curse God and die.
Job could not understand why all these trials came to him. He wished he had never been born. He wished he could die. But he never cursed God for all his troubles.
Job’s three friends came to visit him. They were judgmental. They decided Job had sinned and caused all the troubles. They were very vocal in telling him he must repent. Job protested that he had done nothing wrong. His friends then decided his children sinned and Job was paying for their sin. In the face of his friend’s ‘helpful’ advice, Job still did not deny God. Job complained to God that other people were living that still had children to comfort them. Other people had a home and wealth. He couldn’t understand why God let all this happen to him, but he continued to belief in God.
I suggest we have all asked that question sometime in our life. Why am I not as successful as my friend? Why is my house not as nice as my neighbor’s? Why do I not have the money I need for necessities? Job questioned why bad things were happening to him but he remained faithful to God. Romans 8:28 (NIV) says “And we know that all things work together for the good of all those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” And Romans 8:31a (NIV) says, “If God is for us, we can be against us?”
When friends need encouragement, comfort and prayer do not be judgmental. When trials are bad in your life remember these two verses in Romans 8:28,31a.
What kind of friend are you? When your friends have troubles, they need you to pray for them, to be ready to help in any way. They need encouragement not judgment.
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