True Friends

Job 19:21
Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.

Though Job had not sinned, he was still suffering.  And even if he had sinned, true friends should stand by each other in love—not approving of sin, but showing compassion on those they profess to care about.  When our friends are struggling, we should not attack them, but embrace them.  During trials, it is important to be there for our friends and, perhaps more importantly, to be good friends to them in those times.  We may not have all the answers.  We may not be able to explain the reasons.  But we can listen and we can pray, and sometimes the best thing to do is be there for them without saying anything at all.  Words can fail us, but our presence can be a source of strength and encouragement.

True pity is not just feeling sorry for someone, but it is a heartfelt concern for them in what they are going through.  It is an empathic kind of love that feels their hurt and sorrows and mourns along with them.  And this kind of compassionate concern can make a big difference to hurting hearts.  Job’s trial was large, and his suffering was extreme.  His grief was overwhelming, and his heart was surely broken.  The sudden sense of loss and emptiness that overtook him was not something that could be eased by clichéd platitudes.

Job’s friends tried hard to find the reasons for his suffering.  They probed deep into Job’s heart trying to find some sin as the source of all the tragedy that befell him.  But we should not dole out pity and concern only if we deem our friends worthy of it, but our compassion and love for them should be unconditional.  In godly love, we can restore someone caught in sin or mourn with those who grieve.  We can help others to bear their burdens and lift them up by offering encouragement.  Let us remember whose example we are to follow and seek to show our friends the same kind of grace that God shows each of us.

Let’s not add grief upon grief when our friends are suffering, but instead offer loving support for them during their darkest times of need.  Let’s apply biblical wisdom as the Spirit leads us and not just say anything that pops into our heads.  And lifting up our friends in prayer is one of the best things that we can do for them, asking God to bring peace and comfort as only He can.  Trying times come into all of our lives, so let us be available to be a blessing in the lives of those around us who are hurting.