“…To him that is
afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend”
Job needed compassion, what he received from his friends was
anything but that. Like him, when we are broken hearted over
something in our lives, we need understanding and compassion rather
than judgment from our friends. Unfortunately, God’s army is the
only army in the world that continues to shoot its wounded. So, what
can we do?
begin with, we can remember people are going to disappoint us. Flesh
and bones are just that…flesh and bones. Nowhere in Scripture are we
told we can trust in another person’s strength, power of
faithfulness. In fact, several Scriptures caution us not to trust
the “arm of flesh” (2
friends…even the closest friends… are just people and, like us, they
can’t see the whole picture. Even if they could, they probably
wouldn’t see our circumstances the same as we do. But, wait a
minute! I thought a friend would…would what? What we can expect from
friends is that they will act like the sinners they (and we) are.
doesn’t mean our friends don’t care. Really, it doesn’t. However, no
matter how much they love us or how concerned they are about our
situation, they will at some point disappoint us. How could they
not? The only one who can be there for us consistently and meet the
needs of our hearts is God. And if we’re expecting that kind of
support from a person, we’re setting ourselves up for hurt and
thing that puts a strain on our friendships is when we share too
much. I’m not saying we shouldn’t share our burdens. However, we can
and should avoid puking out every sordid detail of what’s happening
in our lives or in the lives of our family members to every person
saying we should keep secrets because we shouldn’t. But we can and
we must show some discernment about what we share, where we share,
and with whom we share.
remember being at church one day and listening in horror as a woman
decided to “share” her burden with the church. From the platform and
with a microphone, she shared with great detail all the things her
prodigal had done and asked for prayer.
wonder if she considered the gossip she had started or how unlikely
it would now be for her prodigal to go to that church…the place
where he or she could find spiritual help. Most of us wouldn’t do
something so foolish, at least I hope we wouldn’t. But we still need
to use wisdom and discernment when we reach out for support.
looking for the kind of support from your friends that can only come
from God? What a heavy burden to put on our friends! If we’re not
careful, our own pain can make us self-focused, selfish and
self-centered, and even unmindful of the needs of others. And
demanding from our friends what they cannot possibly give us is
unfair and selfish in the extreme.
your pain turned you into the kind of person people hate to see
coming? Are they afraid to ask how you are for fear you’ll tell them
things they don’t need to hear? While we can’t change our friends
any more than we can change anyone else, we can and we should take a
look at ourselves and our expectations.
Challenge for Today: What might happen if we, just for today,
chose to rely on the unchanging God instead of trusting in the “arm