August 25 - Miserable Comforters
The three friends of Job had good intentions, they heard of what had happened to Job and they all took time to come from their own places to show sympathy and comfort to their common friend. They mourned with Job and sat with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights without speaking a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. As comforters, they did well initially until Job began to speak and then they opened their mouths.
What they said did not bring any comfort to Job, and Job called them “miserable comforters”, unable to bring comfort but added to Job’s miseries. They did this by windy words, by judging the situation without full knowledge. What Job looked for was encouraging, strengthening words that could bring solace but instead, he only got empty words that brought condemnation. It would be good if they stood on Job’s side to plead his case with God, interceding for Job instead of taking God’s place as judges.
Real comforters are listeners, speaking briefly, understanding, non-judgmental and bring the one in distress to the Lord. The worst thing a comforter can do is to assess the situation without full knowledge and to give a conclusion and a solution. Such helping is self-centered and not other-centered, without real love and care for the sufferer. Many love to help others but not for the good of the sufferers but for their own need to be needed. Helping others put them on a higher position of a helper towards the helped. Such kind of helping can only bring more misery to the sufferer for the sufferer cannot sense any love from the helper.
Paul urges the Corinthian believers to do everything in love and this love comes from the love of God. He even goes further to declare that if we do not love God, we should be accursed. In the last chapter of his epistle, he cites a few examples of true love shown in the lives of some of his friends. The household of Stephanas devoted themselves to the service of the saints. They, together with Fortunatus and Achaicus, had refreshed Paul’s spirit as well as the spirit of others. They served other believers with love of God and so they were all ministered to.
True helpers put the needs of others first and they serve with the love of God, not by their own efforts or their knowledge or insights. When one is suffering, he only needs the consolation of the Holy Spirit, using such occasion as a teaching moment would defeat the purpose of comforting. Pray that you are part of the household of Stephanas and not one of Job’s three friends. Are you caring for others? Search you heart now to see if you are doing it for God, for others or for yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you your true motivations and ask for His help.
Ps 92:9-15 Job 16:1-19:29 1 Cor 16:1-24 Prov 22:1