This morning I read a few chapters from the Biblical book of Job. Job was a very wealthy, yet God-fearing man that God willingly gave over to Satan to be tempted and tried by fire. Job lost his houses, his land, his livestock, and worst of all, his family, all in one fell swoop.
In one day, he went from the highest in society to the lowest. His body was covered in sores and all he had left was a wife and three so-called friends that told him he should just roll over, curse God and die.
Throughout the 29th Chapter of Job, Job shares with his friends all of the good things he did to help others. He helped the poor, widows and orphans. He assisted those who were blind and lame. He stood up against wickedness and for righteousness. The elders and leaders of the city listened closely to what he had to say.
“To me they listened and waited, and kept silent for my counsel.” Job shares in verses 21 through 25. “After my words they did not speak again, and my speech was dropped on them. They waited for me as for the rain, and opened their mouth as for the spring rain. I smiled on them when they did not believe, and the light of my face they did not cast down. I chose a way for them and sat as a chief, and dwelt as a king among the troups, as one who comforted mourners.”
But when the hand of Satan was allowed to touch Job, those who formerly respected him and heeded his words now either taunted him or ignored him.
Job speaks in chapter 30 verses 9-15: “And now I have become their taunt, I have even become a byword to them. They abhor me and stand aloof from me, and they do not refrain from spitting in my face, Because He has loosed His bowstring and afflicted me, they have cast off the bridle before me. On the right hand their brood arises; they thrust aside my feet and build up against me their ways of destruction. They break up my path, they profit from my destruction; no one restrains them. As though a wide breach they come, amid the tempest they roll on. Terrors are turned against me; they pursue my honour as the wind, and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.”
It is so easy to put down those who have fallen. I’ve heard it said many times that Christians are the only people that shoot their wounded. Why do we do it? Because we think that the appearance of righteousness is far more important than the practice of righteousness – reaching out to the needy and afflicted with the love of Christ.
Of course, sin needs to be dealt with, in such cases, but restoration is equally important.
James chapter 1 verse 27 reads: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
For more on loving ones neighbour in spite of affliction, trials and temptation, read James chapter 2.