A few days ago, we spoke a little about Job and how he responded correctly to his trial. Today, I'd like to follow up with another post about Job. This one, however, does not cast Job in such a positive light.
Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great. - Job 2:11-13
Okay, at the beginning of this passage, all sounds well. Three friends are concerned for a mutual friend so they come to comfort him. Good friends, right? Not exactly. You see, they didn't help. They didn't comfort him. They didn't cheer him. In fact for seven days and nights, they didn't even talk to him. Can you imagine having someone (or three someones) sitting there and staring at you for an entire week and never saying a thing? It's no wonder Job responded the way he did.
After this opened Job his mouth and cursed his day. - Job 3:1
So much for the good attitude! After a week of his friends' "comfort," Job was ready to call it quits. The friends that had intended to help only succeeded in hurting Job more. What a great lesson for each of us.
I understand that there are times when it is sufficient to just be with someone. They don't want conversation. They don't want pity. They just want to know that they're not alone. However, the Bible says that there is a time to speak. Someone today needs encouragement, and God may be counting on you to open your mouth and offer that encouragement. It doesn't have to be grand or eloquent, but it does need to be spoken.
I urge you to pay attention as you go throughout your day today. Seek out those who are hurting and offer them a word of encouragement. You may never know the effect your words will have on them, but I can assure you, they will make a difference.