“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17, KJV) Unlike “fair weather” friends, our true friends support us during good and bad times. At the end of Chapter Two, Job’s three friends – Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, heard of Job’s hardships and went visit Job to provide comfort. For seven days they sat with Job in silence empathizing with Job’s pain.
In Chapter Three, Job breaks the silence by cursing the day he was born. It was evident that Job was depressed. He suffered great losses. He had an estranged wife, deceased children, and lost his source of income. Now, his health is failing. When most of Job’s friends and family had forsaken him Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar where there to give him support. (Job 19:14) Another one of Job’s friends, Elihu, is also present during the time of these discussions. After Job’s speech in Chapter Three, Job and friends have three rounds of discussions. During the discussions we learn that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are horrible encouragers.
When we are being tested by trials, who are members of our support system and what type of support do they offer? Do they offer you godly advice, pray with you, and help keep you grounded? Or do they offer poor guidance, encourage bad behavior, and make empty promises of support? In the case of Job, all of his friends had great intentions but their ignorance regarding his plight led them to rebuke Job at a time where he needed to be uplift.
The Apostle Paul offers an “Encourager’s Checklist” in I Thessalonians 5:11-23. When we set out to encourage, we should be respectful and not judgmental. We should promote harmony, not discord, as well as avoid every kind of evil, and resist retaliation. We need to remind the injured party that God is in control. We need to pray continually, be prepared to listen, and follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Lastly, during this time of conversation and connection with God, we need to remember to be patient and reassuring during this process.
In Colossians Chapter One, the Apostle Paul offers four points regarding prayer for one another. One, we should be thankful for their faith and changed lives. Two, we should ask God to provide them with clarity and deep spiritual understanding. Three, we pray for God to help our Brother or Sister in Christ to live their lives for Him. Four, we should seek God and ask to continually be filled with joy, strength, peace, and thankfulness.
Are we good encouragers that offer godly counsel, compassion, and prayer? Or do we encourage bad behaviors? Do we offer someone a shot a whiskey, revenge tactics, or other advice that will not address their problem but satisfy the desires of their carnal nature? What type of encouragers are we?