Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The answer is blowing in the wind: Job 6-7

One of the things I appreciate about the book of Job is that Job not only tells us how he feels but, is some cases, why he feels the way he feels. Job exhibits a great deal of self awareness in regards to his emotions and feelings. In chapter 6, Job makes a statement that, in my opinion, is extremely insightful. He says, "Oh that my grief were actually weighed and laid in the balances together with my calamity! For then it would be heavier than the sand of the seas; therefore my words have been rash. " (Job 6:2-3) Job recognized that, at times, his words were rash and that they were the product of his pain. Job tells us that, when people are under tremendous pain, they often say things that flow out of their pain; things they might not say under normal circumstances. It could be said that Job, at times, was not in his "right mind". Job goes on to say, "therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul." (Job 7:11) Job was "driven" to give expression to the pain that was in his life and sometimes that expression was rash and not the product of quality mental reflection.

Unless we understand this propensity to rash speech, we will be tempted to criticize and challenge what hurting people say and our counsel to them will not address the real needs of their heart. Job rebuffs Eliphaz saying, "How painful are honest words! But what does your argument prove? Do you intend to reprove my words, when the words of one in despair belong to the wind?" (Job 6:25-26) Love covers a multitude of sins and, in the case of those who are suffering, we should show them grace in regards to their speech. We must be willing to look beyond their speech to the issues of their heart.

As we read the words of Job, we see a conflict raging in Job's soul. A conflict between his feelings and his faith. At times he gives vent to his feelings and his words "belong to the wind". At other times he stands on his faith, for example, when he says, "But it is still my consolation, and I rejoice in unsparing pain, that I have not denied the words of the Holy One." (Job 6:10) We need to be people who know how to over look words of rashness and encourage words of faith. We need to affirm and confirm the faith that is in the heart of hurting people and let God forgive the words of their soul. In doing this, we will strengthen well those in need.

David Robison

No comments:

Post a Comment