Friendly Relations

by Carolyn Hope

After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has. So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. …” So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did as the Lord commanded them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! (Job 42:7-10)

Friends don’t always say the right things. Sometimes when we’re going through a rough patch in life, they simply don’t know what to say; but there’s an unexpressed yet ever-present pressure to speak, and honestly wanting to help, they come up with words … words that aren’t always what we need to hear.

This was the case with Job’s friends. Job was suffering. He was hurting and depressed. Reasonably, his friends were concerned for him, and so they came to offer counsel and comfort. There was a problem, however: these friends had faulty doctrine and wrong theology, which they imposed upon Job. In so doing, they didn’t help him; rather, they hindered him.

At the end of Job’s trial, God sent his friends to ask him to pray for them, and he answered their request. He prayed for them, interceding on their behalf. What is not stated but can be inferred is that Job must have forgiven his friends. How else could he offer a sincere and acceptable prayer to God for them? I believe Job chose to release them from anger, bitterness, or pain in his heart because he loved them and wanted the best for them.

Your friends will not always be who you need them to be, but you can still choose to love them. Even when they have caused you pain, you can forgive them and move forward. Will you be the kind of friend who doesn’t hold a grudge? Will you give people grace and be patient? It can be so hard to do that, especially when you’re hurting. I know. I’ve been there. My encouragement to you if you find yourself in this situation is two words: one more. Give that person one more chance. Hold on for one more day. Call him or her one more time. Don’t give up just yet.

Friendships, true quality friendships, are hard to come by. The friends that you have are worth your struggle and your sacrifice. Keep pushing through the hard times. You can do it. You will make it. It is worth it.

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