Theme of the Week: Friendship
Bible Verse: “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” Job 6:14
Scripture Reading: Job 6:1-30
Anyone familiar with the story of Job knows that it is a tale of great suffering. One of the elements that moves the plot along is the presence and words of Job’s friends. The events that cause Job’s suffering take up just a short space in the entire book. It’s the interactions and conversations between Job and his friends that take the most time to tell.
They get some things right and they get many things terribly wrong. After job has lost nearly everything except is wife and his own life in a shockingly short amount of time—literally one disaster on the heels of another—his friends show up. The one thing they get right is that they simply sit and share his grief. For 7 days they do not talk, they are merely present with Job in his mourning. When they begin to speak, all the comfort and security their presence offered is quickly undone. That’s far too often the case isn’t it? We do an excellent job at something until we open our mouths. Then out comes so much foolishness.
In short, his friends told job that the things that happened are essentially his fault. The loss of his children and his fortunes are God’s punishment for some sin Job has committed. Most of the book is a record of the back-and-forth between Job and his friends.
In chapter six, Job declares to his friends that anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. Let’s not forget that Job is in the depths of mourning and grief over the loss of his children. This conversation is taking place a mere week after immense tragedy. But it doesn’t mean that Job is simply speaking from emotion and wrong. There is an intimate connection between our love and respect for God and how we treat other people.
Remember that Jesus said we are his friends if we keep his command to love each other (John 15:12-14). Our relationship with Jesus and the Father is proved by the relationships we have with other people. It is why Jesus linked the second great commandment to the first. Loving others is inseparable from loving God. If we do not love others, our love for God is suspect. Fortunately, the converse is also true. Our love for others is a sign and a symbol of our love for God.
Prayer: God, I know that it is difficult to claim to love you if I do not love those that are made in your image. The truth is that some people are easier to love than others. But I know that I am not always easy to love either. Help me to see others as you see them and to be a friend who always loves.
Reflection: What does your relationship with your friends say about your love for God? Ask God to show you where you might be not loving a friend. Ask for opportunity and help to be a better friend.
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