In times of trouble many of us often turn to our friends for help, but they don’t always give us the right advice or support that we need (and may end up making the situation worse). Job experiences one of the most difficult situations in the Bible and after losing his property, children and good health, he seeks the counsel of three of his friends. However, they fail to offer him helpful Godly advice in a time when he needed it the most. Using the story of Job as an example, here are three types of people to avoid during tough times :
There’s nothing worse than being told that something is your fault, when it isn’t. In the book of Job, Eliphaz and Bildad are guilty of implying that Job must have done some wrong in order to be in his current predicament as ‘bad things don’t happen to good people’. Job teaches us that this statement is not true. Sometimes bad things do happen, but it’s important to trust God through your circumstance nonetheless.
Whether you’ve done something wrong or not, unless constructive, criticism is often like pouring salt into an open wound (ouch, that’s painful), especially in the midst of a testing situation. In Job’s case, Zophar has a ‘you deserve it’ attitude and accuses him of wrongdoing; suggesting that his punishment was too light. When bad things are happening, we need people to lovingly correct and build us up, rather than pull us down.
Whilst it’s nice to be given advice, there are some people who will offer it without really understanding or knowing what you’re going through. After hearing what his three friends had to say, Job receives another opinion from a younger man named Elihu. At one point he states that his “words are not false and that one who is in perfect knowledge” is among them (Job 36:4). Whilst people like this may mean well, their advice may be somewhat counterproductive.
Job’s ordeal teaches us that during times of trouble it is important to seek counsel from the right people. After speaking to all three of his friends, who felt that they were speaking from a place of knowledge, Job’s ultimate comfort came from hearing from God and trusting Him through the process. For Christians it’s important to remember that even in the worst times, God is in control and in seeking him and putting our confidence in him, we can find our peace.