The Words of the Suffering


“Do you think that you can reprove words, when the speech of a despairing man is wind?”

(Job 6:26 ESV)

Very often we need to take what people say seriously. Words have meaning and significance, and they should not be overlooked. If there is any confusion about what someone said, we should go to them directly and ask for clarification.

But at times we are all guilty of speaking carelessly. No clarification is necessary because what was spoken was a careless word. And this is especially true of someone who is suffering. The person who is enduring physical or emotional pain might say something they would otherwise never say. The suffering soul tends to paint reality darker than it might actually be.

This is what Job says to his friends in chapter 6 verse 26. He has lost everything and is experiencing incredible pain, and so he tells his friends to consider his words like the wind. He doesn’t mean everything he is saying. He is simply hurting and not looking to argue.

We must keep this in mind when we talk to those who are suffering. Our aim should be to comfort and restore their soul, more than to reprove their words. And this requires patient love. Sometimes the loving response is to overlook the careless words that have been spoken, and instead help with the healing process.

In the same way, it is for our good that God does not instantly render judgement upon us when we sin. In love and forbearance, he patiently holds back his anger so that we might have time to turn back to him.

May we bear with one another, and show grace to the words that are spoken. Especially with those who are hurt.

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