Job had those three friends. They proved to be less than helpful. I think they wanted to be his friend, but their good intentions quickly deteriorated into a big argument where they’re right and he’s wrong.
I’ve been there. Thought I was right, but then again… You guessed it–wrong! I’ve let friends and family down. I’ve been let down by those close to me. To be honest, I can barely think of anyone who ever apologized or asked to be forgiven. I can ‘smell the wood burning’ as my brain is trying to think of who or when. They weren’t sorry. Most never looked my way again.
But Job’s three friends humble themselves, obeying the Lord, doing what He told them to do, admitting they were wrong, asking Job to pray for them. Instead of accepting their direct prayer, God tells them to go back to the one they hurt, and have him offer prayers on their behalf. There’s no guarantee that Job will have anything more to do with them. None whatsoever.
But Job is a good friend. He welcomes these three into his forgiving heart, and asks the same of the Lord. Job takes the ‘high road’. He could have rubbed their faces in the sand and dust. Not Job. Chapter 42: 10 says this–‘After Job prayed for his friends…’ They were still his friends. In spite of all they had said, he forgave them. That is exactly how the Lord deals with us, His humbled people. With grace, kindness …and forgiveness.
You know anyone who could use a word of forgiveness? Maybe a friend? Or to whom we need to say– ‘I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.’ These are tough words to speak. We don’t like to say them. I don’t. But they’ll make us stronger in the Lord. No guaranteed outcome, but we’ll be who we were meant to be– good friends like Job!
Prayer: Lord, help us to forgive and be forgiven. May we be good friends to those we love as you are to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.