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When Friends Hurt You

Imagine being in the worst situation of your life. Instead of getting better, your circumstances grow more dire each day. To your relief, your friends gather around to comfort you. As your closest friend opens his mouth to speak, you’re anticipating words of comfort. How will your wise friend, the one whom you have had so many deep discussions with over the years, encourage you in your flagging faith?

He says, “But a witless man can no more become wise than a wild donkey’s colt can be born a man.”

You wonder, “Did I hear him wrong or did he just call me an idiot?”

This is exactly what happened to Job. The financial pain of losing every cent he owned, the intense physical pain of the boils that covered him head to toe, the emotional pain of his wife’s betrayal and the death of all of his children are compounded by the betrayal of his three closest friends.

God steps in and correct Job’s ‘friends.’ In Job 42:7, God says, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” At first this seems like the ultimate trump card, Job’s opportunity to rub his friends’ religious noses in the mess they made of his friendship. But what does God require of Job before delivering him from his misery? Forgiveness.

God did not restore Job’s fortunes until he prayed for his friends and offered sacrifices for their sins. Jesus’s preaches the same message of forgiveness in the parable of the unmericiful servant. The master throws the unmerciful servant in jail, and Jesus warns his disciples, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that our relationship with that person isn’t changed. But it does mean that we let go of any grudges or ill will, and we genuinely wish the person well. Examine your heart today. Is there someone you need to forgive?

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