When words wound rather than heal

words

Chapters Covered: Job 4:1 – 7:21

“How painful are honest words!” – Job 6:25

It’s funny and actually amazing how today’s reading tells of the exchange between Job and Eliphaz, when I just had a heartbreaking argument with one of my best friends.

In these chapters, Eliphaz could not contain the silence and decided to speak his mind regarding Job’s situation. Good as his intentions were, his words of advice were not what Job needed, and were thus unappreciated. Eliphaz was quick to assume that Job’s unfortunate and miserable state was a result of his lack of integrity, and unfaithfulness in the eyes of God. He advised that if Job would only correct his heart and his ways, the Lord would bring back everything that was taken away from him.

What Eliphaz did not understand was that Job did not do anything wrong, and that actually, what he was experiencing was God’s way of taking pride in his faithfulness and integrity. So instead of bringing comfort and encouragement, because Eliphaz did not know the real story, his words only grieved his friend more.

When one of your friends in undergoing a tough moment, we have to choose our words carefully, so as not to sound judgmental and insensitive. Sometimes, even comforting words would only cause more pain than healing. The only wise thing to do in situations like this is to be a good listener. Let them know that you’re there, and you’re listening. Most of the time, your silent presence is the best remedy you could give a hurting friend.

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