ODJ: no filter

January 2, 2014 

READ: Job 4:7-5:1 

I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me (42:7).

Recently someone close to me was made anxious and sad by the words of a friend. The individual shared some difficult past experiences in an awkward attempt at ‘helping’ my loved one gain insight into a hardship she was facing. But, unfortunately, the friend lacked a filter! More was shared than should have been shared and it caused my family member to experience fear and distress.

Job’s friends lacked a filter. They started out well—simply grieving with Job in silence over the horrific losses he had endured (Job 1:13-2:13). But then the trio of Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar began spouting their views of why Job had been dealt death and destruction. From chapters 4 to 37, the three (joined late in the conversation by a man named Elihu) tossed condemning words at Job and received his ‘right back at ya’ bitter responses. The men shared some wisdom, but they didn’t know when to stop. They said things that only God could know—in essence, they attempted to speak for Him. Their main accusation against Job was that he had sinned and that God was disciplining Him for it (4:7, 5:17).

Finally, God confronted Job’s friends. He said, “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me” (42:7). In other words, they shouldn’t have been speaking for Him. Only a burnt offering and intercessory prayer from Job saved their skins from God’s wrath (vv.8-9).

When you and I lack a filter, we hurt others. It’s good to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), but we must be careful not to say more than God has revealed in Scripture or more than we know. To do so can create fear, distress and other negative outcomes—including arousing God’s wrath.

Filter what you say today. —Tom Felten
Genesis 2:15-3:24 ‹

What will help you refine your filter, so that you can accurately reveal God and His ways to others? Why is it best to let your words be few as you counsel or confront?