Read Job 16:1-22
The Importance of Good Friends
To whom do we turn for comfort when we are sad, upset, mad, or depressed? Which of our friends knows just the right words to pick our spirits up, or at least to keep us from falling deeper into despondency? Job needed friends like that, but instead he had Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu.
Look at how Job describes his so-called friends: “Miserable comforters are you all!” (Job 16:2). He accuses them, “I also could speak as you do, if your soul were in my soul’s place. I could heap up words against you, and shake my head at you” (16:4). He says that he would be better than that, though. “But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief” (16:5).
We must take seriously the words that we use with those who are closest to us, and the words they use as well. The apostle Paul writes to the church in Ephesus, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).
Do your friends act like Job’s friends? Do they accuse you of wrongdoing when bad things happen without any evidence? Certainly, we can bring hardship upon ourselves through sinful actions, but sometimes adversity comes through no fault of our own. If our friends automatically assume that we are to blame, perhaps some changes need to take place in our relationships.
Put the shoe on the other foot, too, though. Are you more like Job, or more like his friends? Are you the one who looks for fault in the face of a loved one’s disaster? Our goal must be to edify, to “impart grace to the hearers,” not to tear a person down through unfounded accusations and undue criticism.
Consider this warning from the apostle Paul: “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). We must be careful to surround ourselves with people who have our eternal interests at heart, and we must strive to seek the very best for those we call friends as well.