Thursday, February 05, 2015

Withholding Kindness

The Book of Job, Chapters 6-19

Job had already lost his livelihood, his ten children, and his health. With heartbreaking honesty, Job described how his pain increased as even his surviving loved ones scorned and abandoned him.

My relatives stay far away, and my friends have turned against me.
My family is gone, and my close friends have forgotten me.
My servants and maids consider me a stranger. I am like a foreigner to them.
When I call my servant, he doesn’t come; I have to plead with him!
My breath is repulsive to my wife. I am rejected by my own family.
Even young children despise me.
When I stand to speak, they turn their backs on me.
My close friends detest me. Those I loved have turned against me. 

I imagine Job felt like a desolate rocky mountain.
Job was not only hurting and alone, but he was aware of their disgust and rejection. All he wanted was for someone to take pity on him. Job wanted a friend to listen to him. Instead, Job's friends blamed the troubles on his own sinfulness. Others close to him were repulsed by him. By withholding their kindness, they hurt him all the more. Instead of offering comfort, they increased his pain.

How horrid to further injure a friend who is already suffering by withholding kindness!

Beloved, I remember so many times I have avoided loved ones who were hurting. They reminded me of the unavoidable pain of life and the certainty of death. Just the thought of them made me sad and so I ran from them instead of leaning into the situation. I did not want to visit them because I was afraid I had nothing to say or that I would say the wrong thing. I forgot You were ready to direct me and give me the courage I needed. Father, forgive me and help me remember the agony of Job and do better in the future. Thank You for Your forgiveness. 

Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. (Job 6:14)

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