“With friends like these, who needs enemies.” It is reported that comedian Joey Adams was the first to say this phrase. I don’t really know if that is true…but I do know that this is something that Job must have identified with.
Isn’t the Book of Job crazy? A handful of you who are reading the Bible with me this year have alluded, or straight up stated, that reading Job makes them feel better about their own problems. “At least I’m not that guy Job, right?” I can resonate with that. Maybe not on the struggles thing, but 100% on the friends that sometimes feel more like enemies part.
Years ago, when I was part of a church plant, we had a few people that we, as a family, were pouring into. One of these men was on our tech team. We had him in our home on numerous occasions and went out of our way to make him feel loved and appreciated. Yet, he would eventually decide to move on to another church for reasons he never explained. On his last Sunday, he went to lunch with a group from church and trashed me in every way possible with more lies than I could count. It was hurtful on many levels. However, when I learned about this the only thing I could think was, “I thought we were friends.”
Job’s story is one of friends not being overly helpful. And honestly, a little hurtful. I bet you can think of a friend or two that showed up like Job’s. Maybe they thought they were being helpful but in reality, they were not helping at all. Poor Job was already suffering and his friends were just making it worse the way they were challenging him and how they were engaging. Again, it is not hard to think of people who have done this to us in the past.
But…what about you? Who have you been a poor friend to? If all of us can think of someone who was a bad friend to us, odds are we have been that with someone else. I am not great at math, but I am pretty sure the odds are good that you have been a bad friend a time or two.
I am always challenged when I read things like Job because it is so easy for us to put ourselves in the victim’s shoes. Truth is, however, we are not always the victim. Sometimes we are the transgressor. Sometimes we are the ones who are not supportive. Sometimes we are the ones who don’t take the time to listen and understand. Sometimes we are the ones who think we are helping but are falling well short of being helpful. Sometimes, we are just bad friends.
I am curious, as you finish up Job, before you move on to the rest of the Bible and forget all about it, can you see the ways you have been like Job’s friends? Can you see the ways that your friendship has been less than ideal? Can you see how your friendship has steered people further from God than closer to Him?
I trust that you are all amazing friends…but we do well to look at things a little differently from time to time. And this just may be a great place to start.
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