Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Love - C.S. friends or Job's friends?

Yesterday we read about Job's fall from the wealthiest man in Uz to a man with no possessions and his children. But he did not blame God. Now he is afflicted with severe boils. His wife leaves him and three friends come to commiserate. They hope to obtain a confession of guilt that will save Job's soul. They only bring greater anguish.

Eliphaz, the eldest, is a Temanite, a desert dweller. His manner reflects the barren land in which he lives. Bildad is a Shuhite, a pit dweller and he sees no hope for one in the depths of despair. Zophar, is a Naamathite, an easy liver. The line of least resistance appeals to him. He can be swayed by whoever presents the best arguement. When they see Job, they are appalled. They perform funeral rites of mourning for him, expecting him to succumb. His downfall is complete. They remain silent for seven days, when Job most needs words of comfort and affection. When they do speak Eliphaz says 'who ever perished being innocent, Bibldad says 'if you were blameless God would come to your aid' and Zophar is completely unsympathetic refering to his 'wickedness'. Job calls them 'miserable comforters'. He knows he might speak as they have but hopes he would have done something to assuage their grief.

Here is a lesson for us all when someone we know goes through a really rough time physically, emotionally or financially. We must not be appalled by appearances, we must not jump to the wroong conclusions. We must definitely not become 'miserable comforters' looking for whatever our friend must have done, said or thought that lead to this problem. Mrs. Eddy gives us some wonderful guidelines. She writes that the doctrine of Christian Science is that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation or object. Divine Love cannot be deprived of one of its children. When bringing comfort to family members or friends it is vital to reach out with love, what Mrs. Eddy calls Love being reflected in love. Instead of relishing their guilt, let's rejoice in their innocence and purity. She says "The poor suffering heart needs its rightful nutriment, such as peace, patience in tribulation, and a priceless sense of the dear Father's loving-kindness".

So if this opportunity comes your way today, choose to be Christian Science friends and not Job's friends. Bring a tender word and some encouragement to the situation. Be patient with their fears and troubles. Jesus always showed compassion but never pity. Know that even their darkest moments they are not separated from Love. God is a very present help in trouble.

Tomorrow we see how God comes to Job.

Be at peace.

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