WHO ARE YOUR “KNOW-IT-ALL” FRIENDS?

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“Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty” (Job 5:17 NIV)

Know-it-all’s don’t know it all.

Eliphaz is one of Job’s know-it-all friends.  We met Job yesterday.  He’s lost his children, his livestock and servants.  When we meet him today, his health is also affected.  He’s lost almost everything.  He still has his life and his wife.  Eliphaz has come to comfort him in his distress.  

Dealing with people who experience deep tragedy is difficult.  Knowing what words to say to them is hard.  Some people, like Eliphaz, need an explanation for why the person is experiencing the heartache.  He reasons Job is suffering because he has unconfessed sin.  Why else would God punish him like this?  The problem is, Eliphaz doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  Most people who think they know why God does something don’t.  Only God knows why He does what He does.

Only God knows His intent.

When something bad happens to someone, we often assume they’ve done something to deserve it. God is punishing them.  Eliphaz assumes that about Job.  That assumption is not true.  None of us deserve anything.  All of us fall short from the mark of perfection.  Our sins may differ, but we all sin.  Therefore, we don’t deserve the blessings we do have.  The penalty for sin is death, period.  We all sin, we all will die.  But through Jesus, we have eternal life.  His grace forgives our sin.  Each breath we take we owe him a debt of gratitude.  Without God, nothing exists.

Job understood God’s grace.  He realized, all he has is God’s to do with what He wants.  We are only caretakers. 

The truth is, sometimes life doesn’t make sense.  Bad things happen to people we deem good.  One thing we need to remember: we’re not God.  We don’t know the full situation.  Sometimes, we will never know the “why” until we meet Him in heaven. 

If we get hung up on the “Why?” we miss out on an opportunity to love.

Eliphaz was so busy trying to explain away the situation, he missed an opportunity to love his friend.  What Job needed was someone to sit with him in his misery.  He didn’t need useless words.  Silence is okay.  We don’t always have to talk.

One of the hardest memorials I attended was for my friend Bryan. A young father, murdered just after his 41st birthday.  What words do you say when you look into a grieving mother’s eyes at a moment like this?  The only words I could say were, “I love you.  I’m praying for you.”  Showing up, putting your arms around them,  walking with them through their heart ache, those acts of love are worth far more than empty words.  

Love is always the right answer.  Know-it-alls don’t know it all.  Ignore them, listen to God.

Question of the Day:

What “Know-it-all” do you need to ignore today?

Further Reading: Job 4-7 NIV, 1 Corinthians 14:18-40 NIV, Psalm 37:30-40 NIV, Proverbs 21:27 NIV

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