Job has cried out to God searching for justice. He’s laid out his case and questioned the prosperity of the wicked. He’s pleaded with man and also with God. Throughout his entire discourse, he has maintained God’s right to be sovereign. Meanwhile, his friends have bantered with him mercilessly. They have not listened with compassion or comfort. It’s as if they’ve completely forgotten how gravely this man is suffering. Their main concern is to beat Job with any truth they can blurt out in his presence. These men have acted as though being right and being truthful is incompatible and trumps being loving and being gracious – even with a severely afflicted, painfully dying man. Consider chapter 25:
Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:
2 “Dominion and fear are with God;
he makes peace in his high heaven.
3 Is there any number to his armies?
Upon whom does his light not arise?
4 How then can man be in the right before God?
How can he who is born of woman be pure?
5 Behold, even the moon is not bright,
and the stars are not pure in his eyes;
6 how much less man, who is a maggot,
and the son of man, who is a worm!” ~Job 25:1-6
Bildad, you’re right. God is great. Man is unrighteous, impure, unholy, and undeserving.
Hi. I’m Lori and I’m in recovery from self-righteousness. I just wanted to talk to you for a moment if I could.
You’re right Bildad. You are unequivocally, unquestionably, unarguably right. You’re right. You’re absolutely, certainly, surely right. You’re right Bildad. I agree with you, man. You are totally right.
But, hey, did you notice Job’s condition, dude? Have you looked him in the eye lately? When’s the last time you changed his blood-soaked bandages? Personally, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone hurting that much. Have you ever placed your arm around him and cried with him? When is the last time ya’ll prayed together? I’m just askin’ ’cause it seems to me that your buddy already agrees with you about doctrine. He knows full well how sovereign, mighty, and powerful his God is. Trust me, he’s afraid. He knows even more about how much of a worm he and the rest of the world is. Just look at him. Look at what men did to him, too. He knows, man.
So I guess I’m just wondering why the lectures? Do you think he forgot? ‘Cause I don’t get that vibe from my wound-oozing, tear-faced, family-grieving friend. I know I’m just some girl without a seminary degree. I’ve never been to a shepherding conference on how to do ministry. I don’t even have a job for goodness sake. But, if I may, I think your friend needs a friend. He needs a hand. He can’t walk through this alone. Job needs some grace, some mercy, and an extra large dose of love. I think he knows the truth. I think, maybe, he just needs someone to point him toward hope in it. I think he needs someone to be willing to carry him by their own faith for just a few miles.
But you’re right. God is righteous and great. Man is a total worm. I just hope that being right doesn’t hold a higher place in your heart than being gracious. If it does, dude, you should probably stop talking to people like Job. Hang out with people who are as perfect as you are so you don’t have to worry about damaging your rep with people like me and Job. I know. I’m nobody…a girl worm. But even a fool like me can see that your friend needs you. He needs the truth, not so you can show him up, but so that you can show him love. Just sayin’.
Your recovering self-righteous sister, Lori