Job 16:4-5. I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you. But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.
Telling Somone The Obvious is Not Always Much Help
Job learned a valuable lesson from his “friends”, when they were giving him advice, while he was going through a storm in his life. He learned that you could tell someone what was obvious and not be much of a help, or you could just try to be an encouragement. That requires that you put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You also need to not think about yourself for once; and, instead, try to focus on helping someone else. Really, Job just needed someone to listen to him. Yes, Job had a pride problem, but only God was going to fix that. His friends tried to help, but to no avail.
Exhortation is What is Needed
When you heap up words against someone, either to their face or not, you are not strengthening them; you are tearing them down. The Bible talks about having the gift of exhortation (Rom 12:8). Exhortation is the act of using words to encourage someone. The opposite would be using words to discourage someone. That was kind of what Job’s friends were like at times; even when, to some extent, they were right about Job’s problem. You cannot always fix someone’s problem, but you can listen and encourage with a kind word.
Good Words Can Reduce the Pain
Job let his friends know what he really needed. He told his friends that if they were in his shoes he would try to strengthen them with his mouth. He would use his lips to asswage their grief. He would try to use words that would reduce the pain and the hurt. Sometimes people just need a kind word. Surely there is someone who needs help more than you. Try to be the kind of friend, that Job had needed, to someone in their time of trial. Also, if someone is trying to help you and does not get it just right, try to have mercy on them, unlike Job. At least those guys showed up and tried to help. They just got it wrong. Be an encouragement today to someone in adversity, if you can.