The Power of Words: Learning from Job's Compassionate Response

Job 16:5
But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.

It speaks volumes of a man’s character to wish his enemies well while they persecute him with their own words. Job here is under assault. As already discussed, they have placed judgment upon him which they had no right or authority to place. They assume his guilt before God because of his troubles. Their thoughts are too shallow as it relates to God’s ways. Someone must have incorrectly taught them that when one walks in uprightness of heart, nothing will ever go wrong. And though it is true that God will bless you for serving Him, it is also true that a mixture of trials and tribulations will come on occasion for purposes far greater than our limited understanding or immediate circumstances.

So, while the "super spiritual" brethren stand around in the comfort of their blessings, assuming their righteousness because of their good welfare, they forget that God’s goodness comes not because of who we are, but only because of who He is. Apparently, God has been SO good to them that they allowed self-righteous pride to enter into their hearts, as often is the case for all of us if we don’t keep our hearts in check.

Regardless, look at Job’s response. While they are slandering him with every "scripture proof" they can throw at him by which to prove his guilt, he says to them in essence that if the tables were turned, and they were the ones in pain, he could just as easily give them the same treatment, but he would choose rather to strengthen them and comfort them with his words. All he is asking of them is that they pay him the same respect that he would have paid them. In fact, if I had to guess, I imagine Job to be a man of such integrity and uprightness of heart, that these guys who were giving him a hard time while he was down were probably direct beneficiaries of his goodness and kindness while he was at the top of his game.

And don’t be surprised if the people who appreciate your contributions today will curse your existence tomorrow when you’re no longer in the same position to bless them. However, the lesson we should learn is this; just as Job would speak blessings to his friends when they were down, if given the chance, even so we should bless others with our words, whether they would do the same or not, and especially if they are hurt.

~ Pastor Gary Caudill
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