Today's devotion from Job 16 and 17.
Job's friends were not wrong in their theology, but they were not right in their practice. In Job's response to their accusations, he makes a powerful statement, "I could join words together against you and shake my head at you. I could strengthen you with my mouth, and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain." (Job 16:4b-5a, ESV) If he were in their position, he would have the same opportunity. He could hurl allegations and accuse them of wrongdoing, or he could encourage and strengthen.
It makes me wonder and ask myself a question: What am I doing...really?
Let me explain. You see, whenever someone comes to us to share something going on in their lives, we can easily make it about us. I want to give good advice. I want to be right. I want to fix problem. In this subtle way, I make the conversation about, well, me. Sometimes what people truly need is not to have their problem fixed, but their pain heard.
This is what Job needed from his friends in this moment. Instead, they decided that they needed to seize this opportunity to fix "it" even though they didn't really have a clue about what was happening in Job's life. They jumped to conclusions, but missed the actual point. Job needed to lean on the strength of others, not open himself to be judged by them.
All of this brings me back to my question: What am I doing...really?
When someone opens up, am I their for them or showcasing me? Am I joining words together against them, or strengthening them with my mouth? What am I doing? What are you doing? What could we do differently to offer hope to those who hurt?