“Miserable comforters are you all! … I also could speak as you do, if your soul were in my soul’s place … but I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief.”Job 16:2-5
To Job’s friends, the source of his problems seemed clear. Having listened and observed, they were critical, identifying mistakes and recommending changes. Job understood their point of view but was frustrated. They missed the point. Having endured great difficulties, he urgently needed to be encouraged and comforted. Instead, he felt attacked.
Job’s plight should make us conscious of a common problem. Most of us have opinions about world events and how others react. It can be easy to criticize and judge. We observe mistakes we think others are making and develop ideas about how they should change and react instead.
But the Bible warns us against being dominated by a critical spirit. We need to remember Jesus’ words that we should be careful before being judgmental. We will be judged based on the standard we use to judge others (Matthew 7:1-2).
One of the primary roles of each believer is to provide comfort. In fact, Jesus promised that He would send the Spirit to be our Helper, our Comforter (John 14:16). We need to remember that, like Job, people need comfort and encouragement. And we need to be led by the Spirit and on guard against being critical.
Ask God to give you a spirit of discernment and compassion. Be sensitive to the needs of the people around you. Be ready to be an instrument of His Spirit and encourage others.
Father, give me sensitivity to the needs of people with whom I interact. Use me as Your instrument. In Jesus’ name, amen.