Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 11 August 19:
Job 13:4 – “As for you, you whitewash with lies; worthless physicians are you all.”
What sort of physician are you? Do your words bring healing or only make things worse? Job’s friends, were terrible physicians, though they didn’t intend to be. In fact, they exemplified proper basic first aid in their initial actions – “Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place…. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him….. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.” (Job 2:11-13) These friends dropped everything and came together to support Job, traveled great distances to care for him, had great compassion for him, prayed earnestly for him, and silently comforted him for a long time. They were doing great until they attempted to diagnose Job’s problem and give Job the ‘medicine’ he needed, until they opened their mouths and said hurtful things.
Yes, sometimes the truth hurts, much like the taste of medicine can be unpleasant and surgeries are usually painful, but no one needs a careless doctor who applies the wrong treatment or who performs his or her procedures in a reckless way – malpractice is a very serious and deadly thing. Likewise, we must be careful about how we use God’s word to address issues of concern in the lives of others.
– Proverbs 12:18 — There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
– Psalm 147:3 — He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Our words should bring healing, not that they will always be pleasant. As Proverbs teaches, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend,” and “Better is open rebuke than hidden love…. Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue…. It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools. (Proverbs 27:5,6; Proverbs 30:6; Ecclesiastes 7:5) Sometimes, love demands that we address difficult issues with others. However, the physician handles the scalpel very delicately, not carelessly, and always cuts to heal, leaving as little scarring as possible.
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4) The fruit of the spirit include gentleness, and the Bible tells us that “if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1) We must remember that all our words must be grounded in love and applied carefully and gently with the “aim for restoration.” (2 Corinthians 13:11)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 11 August 19: Today, ensure all your words our healing rather than hurting, encouraging rather than discouraging, and ensure your motive is always to draw people closer to Jesus.