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The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9
Well, here we are. Smack dab in the middle of the book of Job. Not exactly the book I had planned on starting my New Year with. However....
God is showing me new things as I read each chapter in the woeful life of our friend Job.
After losing everything, and I mean everything, Job finds himself alone. Note, he still has his wife. However, she is not much help to Job. Talk about a Debbie downer. Goodness gracious.
With Job's horrible and devastating losses, his three friends decide to pay him a visit to comfort him.
Their names are Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest. Well, not really, but they may as well be.
These friends are not exactly the kind of people I would like in my corner on any given day.
We find these friends condemning Job, pointing their judgmental fingers at him, and tearing him apart with their harsh words.
I want to jump in the story and comfort poor Job. After losing everything, his friends are pouring alcohol on his festering wounds. I can feel the sting from here.
The Lord has shown me some things here as I read....
First, learn to keep my mouth shut. I mean sealed tight. Sometimes, I can speak before thinking and make a bigger mess of things. Sometimes, I really do think about what I am going to say, and then it still ends up being more hurtful then helpful.
As women, we like to be right. We like to tell the truth. We like to call things as they are. I get it.
However, sometimes we just need to SHUT UP. And listen. And listen some more.
Not just listen, but have some compassion. And a lot of it.
We want to often fix things. Instead, sometimes we need to just cry in the mess with our friend.
Our hearts are sincere on helping our friends, but somehow we can get off track. We want to pull them out of the mud too quickly. We want to "reason" with them instead of grieving with them. We want to pull them up by their darling little bootstraps and drag them to a happier place.
However, maybe we should just sit with them. Cry with them. Mourn with them. Grieve with them. Instead of throwing good advice their way, maybe we should glue our mouths shut and just be still with them.
As I type, I can think of a million times when I should have just SHUT MY MOUTH. I am a natural encourager, however, sometimes people just need some understanding. Sometimes people just need a silent "I hear ya."
Gosh, I gotta work on this.
Job's friends go on and on and on and on with their lengthy speeches. They seem to like to hear themselves talk even when their talk is cruel. Hurtful. And wrong.
Keep reading and you will find out what God has to say about all of this. He will be the last to speak, and He will set them all straight as an arrow.
Lord, set a guard over my mouth. Help me to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. Forgive me when I have overstepped my boundaries with my words. I need Your compassion and wisdom to be a good friend to those around me. Please help me to love by listening. In Jesus Name, amen.
Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3
Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15
padlocking these lips,