[ Job’s three friends come to comfort him ] When Job’s three friends heard about all this disaster that had happened to him, they came, each one from his home—Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuah, and Zophar from Naamah. They agreed to come so they could console and comfort him. Job 2:11 CEB
In recent months we have spent a good bit of time chatting about the book of Job. We’ve tried to learn how NOT to be like Job’s three friends. Their intentions were good, but their follow through was inadequate.
Here’s the deal – we are all inadequate.
Intentions are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I find people’s chatter about their intentions when paired with actions that are the exact opposite of said intentions annoying. I particularly hate it when my intentions do not match my behaviors. That really bugs me. So I have this phrase that I think is mostly true, “People do not care about our intentions; what they care about is how we treat them.”
On the other hand, I think it is a holy thing to acknowledge that in some instances, our intentions matter. Job’s friends, clumsy as they were, showed up. They came to console and comfort and actually sat for quite awhile in silence before their lips starting flapping.
Who among us HASN’T had that experience?
Today, I remember that Brene Brown has said that for the most part, people are doing the best they can. Their best, my best, and your best, may be lousy at times. This is also true. But I doubt that judgment and criticism has ever actually improved the situation for those whose intentions do not match their follow through.
How could we honor the intention of Job’s friends but improve upon our serve, given the perspective we find in the book of Job?