Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Just one question..."

"Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered, 'If one ventures a word with you, will you be offended?'"
(Job 4:2)

The book of JOB is a curious one.  It begins with God vouching for the righteousness of Job, against Satan's (literally "The Accuser's") request to try and "mess with him."  Though a series of divinely-sanctioned calamities, Job loses just about everything but his wife and his life.  Oh yah, and some so-called friends.  For most of the rest of the book, Job and his friends argue about sin, righteousness, God and humanity.  The last chapters of the book have God finally speaking to Job, basically telling him that there are some things he'll just never know about life & God & people.  Period.  Deal with it.

But back to the "friends."  They dispense conventional wisdom.  They say what everyone believed.  They tell Job (over and over) that bad stuff comes to those who sin.  It's the way of the world.  Quit denying it & move on.  But we know that God sees Job as "righteous" from the start!  Anyway, one of the first comments made by one of his friends was a rhetorical question: "Job, will you get offended if I say something to you?"

That's actually a GREAT question!  How open are WE to hearing advice from others?  Granted, we'll need to filter whatever we hear through the lenses of scripture, the Holy Spirit's guidance,  general Christian teaching, and wisdom... but are we open to "constructive criticism" from others (especially when we know it's not a personal attack)?  Sometimes I know that I get defensive, and am less likely to actually HEAR what people are trying to tell me.  That's not wise.  I hope that I will endeavor to at least listen to whatever people have to say... and then allow God to confirm it in my heart if it's something I need to heed.  What about you?

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