In chapter 18 Bildad joins Eliphaz in attacking Job’s character. They throw sticks; calling him wicked and deserved of his suffering. Job retaliates tossing stones; telling them they are terrible comforters, terrible friends.
Job’s friends become defensive and angry. Feelings are hurt adding more fuel to an already smoldering pile of rock and wood.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!”
Ooooh, I remember saying that phrase.
Even now it brings back memories of times when my feelings were hurt because of what somebody said, and to get back at them I would scream that phrase.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: …strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy… I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
The heat of my anger would boil up beginning at my toes running swiftly to my belly then neck and like a bottle shaken I would explode without warning, hurling insults and trying to find words that cut and crush.
Words hurt. They stick much longer than a bruise and I’m afraid I’m queen of hurting people with my words…especially my family.
As a kid I threw stick and stone words haphazardly hoping they would hit their target. It was usually back at the mean kid who told me I was fat or ugly. They said something that cut and I wanted to cut them back, but it’s hard to hurt someone you don’t really know.
Friends and family are much easier targets. We know the most about them and what makes them tick; their dreams, their desires, what they love, what they treasure…we know what will hurt them to the core and use it as ammunition.
As an adult; as a wife and mom, I am more able to reign in my toss. I am able to, more subtly, spear those sticks and force those stones in with more precision.
Instead of hurling erratic insults, I catapult blame and guilt with amazing accuracy directly at the heart. I lash out when I’m not being heard or when I feel unappreciated. I want them to hurt the way I’m hurting. I want to get back at them and so I throw sticks and stones at the people I love the most in this world!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
I have often said that I am not a fruit bearing tree. I don’t display the beautiful fruit that I see in people around me. I have thrown so many sticks and stones that my harvest is damaged.
I praise God that He’s not done with me yet. He has placed amazing women in my life who do portray the fruit of the Spirit. They exude the kindness, patience and gentleness that I lack, providing a beautiful picture of how a Godly wife, mother and friend is supposed to act. I praise God for each of those precious gems in my life and for the example He has set before me to learn from.
“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:24-26
How’s your harvest?
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5