Friday, January 30, 2015

when relationships hurt

But now they laugh at me,
men who are younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
to set with the dogs of my flock.
Job 30:1

This is the evaluation Job concludes to all the "comfort" and "insight" his friends have offered to him in his suffering. In the end, it was a mockery and a disrespect. Job had higher regard for his stock-protecting sheep dogs than these men. These were not counselors who scored well with their client evaluations!

Why do people hurt us? It seems to me that the most difficult experience of suffering in the book of Job is the incredibly painful relationship Job has with his friends as they attack his character and imply that he is spiritually a failure before God. The real suffering of Job is in those strained relationships. When we care about people, whether they are friends or family, we invest emotionally with them. That gives them not only the power to add to our contentment, but also the ability to really hurt us. And that is Job's conclusion at the counsel he received. It is a mockery of him and a painful disappointment.

Relationships are worth the pain that they bring. But sometimes in order to make them better, with difficulty, we must address where they are wrong. God eventually healed Job's friendships. By having Job intercede with sacrifices for his friends, the redeeming of this pain began. When a relationship hurts, God can heal it.

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