Summary: Well meaning friends desire to help those who are hurting. In their sincerity, they may actually hinder rather than help.
With Friends like These
Four Different Friends:
1. Eliphaz – became proud as he spoke of his supposed insight to Job’s situation… 4:12-16
He made three incorrect assumptions of Job’s situation:
a. Innocent people never suffer.
b. Those who are suffering are being punished for their past sins.
c. Job had sinned and was in denial.
2. Bildad – Job 8; 18;25 – Job is suffering because he refuses to repent.
3. Zophar – Job 11-20 – Job’s sin deserves more suffering than he has experienced.
4. Elihu – Job 32-37 – God is using suffering to mold and train Job.
DRAGON SPECIES (From Marshall Shelly, Well-Intentioned Dragons pg. 37)
1. THE BIRD DOG - They point at problems all the time
(Luke 17:3) watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. (YOU REBUKE HIM - don‘t send the preacher after him)
2. THE WET BLANKET - (Romans 12:11) “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord“
Some people have no zeal at all, and the problem is it’s contagious…
Doom and gloom, and negativity
3. THE ENTREPENEUR -
The person that uses the church to make a living. One young couple said, We became members of a church. And within days we received a letter from a man welcoming us to the church. “By the way,“ he writes, “I sell insurance.“ And he had an application enclosed. We felt victimized!
4. THE STEAM ROLLER -
One man came to our church and told me that if he ever had a problem with anything I said from the pulpit - don’t be surprised if he stands up in the middle of my sermon and disagrees.
5. THE FICKLE FINANCIER -
The one who uses the offering to control the church. The guy who gives the most - and says he won’t give if he doesn’t get his way.
6. THE BUSY BODY -
1 Timothy 5:13 talks about people who... get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. (phone to phone) And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. (Things that are not wholesome)
7. THE SNIPER -
Makes accusations but avoids confrontation. Doesn’t give anyone a chance to respond… to defend themselves
8. THE BOOK KEEPER - (1Corinthians 13:5) Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS.
1 Tim 5:24 The sins of some men are obvious, (Alcohol… drugs… sexual immorality) reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them
These dragons can seem so spiritual… they package their criticism in all this spiritual language… and they are just trying to help… But they leave a path of destruction behind them. And the church leadership is spending more time on damage control than outreach. Moral is weakened… Enthusiasm is squelched… The mission is lost… And the church goes into survival mode.
40% of Americans don’t go to church because of church problems - Gallop Poll – 1988
I heard about a man who didn’t want to go church anymore. He woke up on a Sunday morning and told his wife he wasn’t going.
“What do you mean you’re not going to church?”
“I mean I’m not going”
“Give me three reasons why you’re not going.”
“#1 - I’m not being fed. #2 Nobody there likes me, and #3 I don’t like anybody there.”
She said, “Well, you had better get up and get to church because you’re going.“ (She wasn’t a very submissive wife)
He said, “Give me three reasons why I should go to that church.”
“#1 It’s a beautiful day, #2 God’s Word tells us not to forsake the assembly of the saints, and #3 You’re the preacher.”
How Can We Be A Friend To The Suffering?
1. We can be there for them.
2. We can feel their pain.
3. We can encourage them.
4. We can listen more than we talk.
5. We can be honest: I don’t know… don’t try to explain everything.
6. We can look beyond their faults and look to their needs.
7. We can emphasize God’s love and compassion.
8. We can pray for them.