Wednesday, August 24, 2011


     JUST because someone is down does not necessarily mean that they are spiritually inferior to you.  There's some great insight into human nature in the Book of Job.  Verse 5, "Men at ease have contempt for misfortune".  There is a weird, sinister characteristic in humans that has a contempt for misfortune and people in misfortune. People need compassion and empathy when misfortune strikes, but often what they get from us is contempt and a cold shoulder. Why is that?  Why is our response, "here, here's $50.00 now get it together, I got it together, what is so difficult?"  I believe one of the reasons for this attitude and response towards struggling people is that we have seen many people in misfortune because of their own decisions as we watched them through their lives away and we begin to take on this mindset that all who are suffering, are suffering due to their own fault.  We assume they have brought this suffering on themselves through sin, rebellion and stupid decisions.  And although that is true in some instances, we cannot begin to assume that it is true in all instances.  Job is our case and point.  Job is here to show us that sometimes people suffer misfortune or seem to "be cursed" for no reason that can be blamed on them.  Job knew this misfortune was not about his sin or any decisions he had made, He was confident about this. His friends interpreted his confidence as arrogance and conceit, but it was neither.  His friends had contempt for him because he was suffering instead of mercy and compassion. Instead of compassion and mercy they want to lecture him.  There's nothing so futile or vain as lecturing one of your peers. I've had this happen to me and I'm sure you've had it happen to you.  Just because you admit that you are down and struggling doesn't mean that you have forgotten about God, doesn't mean you've forgotten the basic tenements of the Christian Faith, but super spiritual people begin to treat you like you have.  Job is quick to remind them and annoyed when he says, "what you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you".  This is not a "pride thing", it is simply a true statement spoken out of his annoyance with these "brothers". They are adding insult to injury.  You can hear the heart of Job here, he's basically pleading with this guys, who are supposed to be his friends and he is saying,"why are you guys talking to me like this? Why are you guys talking to me like I'm inferior, just because I'm suffering doesn't mean I'm inferior neither does it mean I've become totally dense".  These friends of his are rambling on about these religious platitudes that are as common to Job as breathing and water.  His friends spout out to him, "what is man, the he could be pure or one born of woman, that he could be righteous?" Job is very aware of this, this is common knowledge and they are wasting his time and theirs, standing there speaking down to this Godly man reciting Religious Platitudes that even a common Jewish boy would now, never mind a Godly, Righteous man of God like Job. Job responds to them, "you are worthless physicians, all of you!"  In other words, they have come to heal him but are doing absolutely no good. All they are doing is adding "insult to injury".
     I wonder how many times we have visited someone and done absolutely no good in our visit, or worse, we have made things worse?  Never has anyone told us that we visited that we were "worthless physicians, but I wonder how many thought it or told somebody else that we were? This story is good for us to remember; that instead of comforting and reassuring, we can be guilty of condemnation and showing contempt.  We have to be careful that we do not automatically assume that all those that are suffering are suffering are suffering because of their sin, rebellion and ungodly decisions. If I am going to error on one side or the other,  I would much rather error on the side of being too compassionate than error on the side of being to harsh and condemning, how about you?