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  • janetmchenry

When a Friend is Grieving

It’s so interesting to read the book of Job and watch the interaction among Job and his friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

When they heard of Job’s great trials and suffering (the Bible says “evil”), they went quickly to him to show him sympathy and comfort him. When they saw him, they grieved greatly and sat with him for seven days and seven nights–none of them saying a word “for they saw that his suffering was very great.”

That’s exactly what we should do when a friend or family member is hurting. Go. Grieve. Sit. Be silent.

Well done, friends of Job.

However, their mistake came when Job began to lament. Then the human need to solve other people’s problems kicked in, and they began their lectures. Later another friend, Elihu joined in.

All together, they pretty much lectured Job for fourteen chapters. Fourteen chapters. And Elihu railed on Job’s three friends for an additional chapter . . . because he was so much wiser than the other three. Right.

Reading this condemnatory language page after page, I react again and again: Bad dog. Bad dog. Bad dog. Bad dog.

However, then I remember a time when I did the same for a friend when she called me and we had a couple-hours conversation that ended with all my great ideas that could better her life, filled with my proven problem-solving thinking and strategies.

And then she paused on the other end and said, “You know, I didn’t ask for your advice, Janet. I just hoped you’d listen to me.”

Just call me Miss Eliphaz Bildad Zophar Elihu Know-It-All.

I LOVE to solve problems, but I often need to check myself when that itch kicks into gear with other people.

So, reading through Job each year is a great reminder that there’s a much better technique when a friend or family member is hurting.

Go. Grieve. Sit. Be Silent.

Oh, and you know, a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken would probably be welcome, too.

Janet McHenry is an award-winning speaker and the author of 24 books, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus.She would LOVE to be considered as the speaker for your next event.

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