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If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone (Job 19:4).
Why do we find it necessary to stick our noses in where they are not wanted? Why do we feel like the other person needs to hear our opinion?
The law dictionary defines “standing” as the right to file a lawsuit or file a petition under the circumstances. In legal terms, Job’s three friends had no standing to bring charges against him. Job himself even said he didn’t want to hear their opinions. Instead, all Job asked for was, “Have pity on me, my friends, have pity.” He goes on to ask, “Why do you pursue me as God does? Will you never get enough of my flesh?”
And then Job gives this warning: “If you say, ‘How we will hound him, since the root of trouble lies in him,’ you should fear the sword yourselves.” Despite this warning, Zophar still begins his argument by stating, “I hear a rebuke that dishonors me so I have to speak up.”
There are indeed times when our friends may be going astray and the loving thing we can do for them is speak a word of truth, but that is something entirely different than feeling compelled to share an opinion or sticking our noses in where they don’t belong. A good question to ask ourselves before speaking: Do I have standing here?
Far better for us to apply the Golden Rule this way: Treat others in their condition the way I would want to be treated in the same condition. And if I do feel as though I have standing, and need to speak a loving word, I need to examine myself first.
Job tells his friends, “You are miserable comforters, all of you!” (16:2). One of the best things they did for him was to simply sit silently in mourning alongside him. It was when they felt compelled to argue that they not only disappointed Job, but they dishonored God too.
My checklist before speaking:
If I can answer “Yes” to all four questions, then speak; otherwise, it’s far more loving to remain silent.
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.
The Golden Rule Is The Golden Measure
Christian grace comprehends the whole man. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Salvation means not only a pure heart, an enlightened mind, a spirit right with God, but that the whole man is comprehended in the manifestation of the marvelous power and grace of God, body, soul, and spirit are brought into fascinating captivity to the Lord Jesus Christ. …
The limit to the manifestation of the grace of God in us is our body, and the whole of our body. We can understand the need of a pure heart, of a mind rightly adjusted to God, and a spirit indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but what about the body? That is the margin of righteousness in us. We make a divorce between a clear intellectual understanding of truth and its practical outcome. Jesus Christ never made such a divorce; He takes no notice of our fine intellectual conceptions unless their practical outcome is shown in reality. …
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12). Our Lord’s use of this maxim is positive, not negative. … What would we like other people to do to us? “Well,” says Jesus, “do that to them; don’t wait for them to do it to you.” The Holy Ghost will kindle your imagination to picture many things you would like others to do to you, and this is His way of telling you what to do to them. …
This verse is our Lord’s standard for practical ethical conduct. … We are to be written epistles, “known and read of all men.” There is no allowance whatever in the New Testament for the man who says he is saved by grace but who does not produce the graceful goods.
From Studies In The Sermon On The Mount
It’s pretty simple—is the Holy Spirit prompting you to do good to others? Are you obeying?
If so, then you are living epistle that allows everything to read of God’s love through your life.
If not, you’re lack of “graceful goods” is showing you don’t really understand what “saved by grace” means, and neither are you letting others see that wonderful reality.
The day has been a good one so far: There’s been a lot of traffic through the store, all of the employees showed up for their shifts on time, and the manager is feeling great. Then because of one complaint from a finicky customer, the whole day seems to crumble.
The day has been a good one so far: You got up on time, found the right outfit to wear, got to school on time, smiled at your classmates, and got right down to business. Then a teacher points out a mistake you made yesterday, and your whole afternoon becomes gloomy.
Usually that’s all it takes. Just one complaint, one correction, one unkind word, one angry look, one unfriendly email. Just one, and it’s hard to remember any of the good stuff which happened earlier. Just one, and the rest of the day seems so hard to bear.
“One of the commodities in life that most people can’t get enough of is compliments. The ego is never so intact that one can’t find a hole in which to plug a little praise. But, compliments by their very nature are highly biodegradable and tend to dissolve in hours or days after we receive them—which is why we can always use another.” —Phyllis Theroux
Here’s how you can help today. It might take a couple of extra minutes, but the results are so worth it! Give three compliments today.
It’s not hard to find something to compliment about anyone. Your compliment may be just the antidote they need to counteract a complaint that has gotten them down. And when you treat others this way, you can be sure that compliments will be coming your way too!