Today, I have completed my personal study of Job. I am totally speechless. I would recommend everyone reads this book. Apart from dashing of overwhelming wisdom (especially when God literally shares his credentials in Job 40, 41), the ending challenged me!
Job had friends with head-knowledge of God and not heart knowledge. Consequently, they came with the condensalating messages to Job about what they think God is doing to Job. They were so negative and critical. One thing I learnt to be not critical at all! Someone is already going through tough times, then I add my criticism to deepen their load…no! I should be a light, a burden lifter. I should be there to pray for them, to encourage them in the Lord. I don’t know how Job could even engage in long conversations with them….
Just like I wrote in a previous post on Romans 5:2-5, Job is a perfect example. He gained patience, both in tribulation and the additional discouragement from his wife and his friends; experience on how to stick it out in tough times but also how to FORGIVE; hope, He saw the end of his tough times, it was only a season… through his tough times, God brought out the best in Him, gained double in blessings and God was glorified!
You see, before God can fully restore Job back, Job had to be restored back to his friends: Forgive!
Forgiveness. Sigh. The pinnacle of my christian growth.
I once got a synonym of forgiveness as indulgence! Yes, indulgence!! True forgiveness is like eating warmed chocolate cake baked to perfection with moist warm chocolate icing. To give oneself up to pleasure of forgiveness. To luxuriate in forgiveness. To treat oneself to forgiveness. It is an essential luxury of my christian faith. There is a gratifying comfort in forgiving people who hurt me like crazy. Forgiveness reminds me of humanity, flawed, like me. It reminds me of God’s grace to me. God has extended his grace to me, why can’t I extend it to others who are in need of grace?
I cannot move on with life and get the full blessings if I do not forgive people who really hurt me, even people who are against my progress. Job didn’t make enemies of his ‘friends’. Instead, he became a spiritual leader for them at their points of weakness. He had true love for them. Imagine if Job never prayed for this friends? Yes, the tough time might have stopped, but he wouldn’t have gotten double blessings for his sorrow. Forgiveness was the extra icing on the cake.
When tough times comes, several people can be used as points to test our true faith in God and our love for them! They can become unfortunate tools of discouragement, and just as much as it is a testing time for you, it is a testing time for them! Especially people of faith. People who you had high expectations of them. People who should know better! People in leadership displaying all their flaws. People who are meant to empower you but instead disempower you. People you ‘look’ up to who break you down, break down your confidence, and just like Job’s friends, they can even emotionally bully you. They make you think that you are no good, useless and of no value. People who are quick to critique and judge you when you are still trying to establish why you are even in the tough situation anyways! People, people, people.
You and I are to forgive people. Friends, family, leaders, church folk, school folks, acquaintances and every one else are…just people. Like you. Like me. Jesus forgave people because they are after all, just people. Humans.
Whilst ‘they’ are tools of hurt, I can become the tool of healing. Whilst they show no love, I can be the tool that demonstrates love. Just as much as forgiveness is like eating chocolate cake, I too can become that chocolate cake the world needs, that necessary luxury!
Let’s help others move on forward. Just like Job did for his friends. Forgiveness was a spiritual process for Job, so also it is for us. Forgiveness feeds the true Love of God in our hearts for EVERYBODY. Forgiveness is a behaviour. A behaviour that is natural for some at salvation, but for some, it a trained behaviour gained on our knees. It is a behaviour because you move on from avoiding the hurter to praying always for your hurter! It looks for opportunities to bless the hurter, and sometimes when the hurter doesn’t change, you can still continue to love and forgive.
I am sharing a small snip-it of this story to encourage someone reading this. Personally and recently, I had a big issue with this luxury of Faith.
Imagine a large oak wood being battered with a large iron hammer. The wood doesn’t budge despite the battering until it dents. Then you wonder, why did it dent? But you still continue until the wood nearly breaks in two. That is what happened to me. The person had the tool to batter and I was the oak wood, normally strong and able to withstand pressure. Maybe they didn’t know that they were doing this or maybe they didn’t know the extent their behaviour had on me. Deliberate or unconscious were their actions, but I was nearly losing my mind. My bedroom became my altar where I had to drop my guard before God and tell Him all my frustrations. And guess what, the situation wasn’t getting any better!! My confidence broke. I used to smile, I couldn’t anymore. I used to laugh, I used to eat, I used to chat, I did them no more! I was belittled and trapped. I then wallowed in internal pity, asking myself, why I do good and show kindness and get a ‘slap in the face in return’?
Fear gripped me. I avoided this person like a plague. Once they were around, I couldn’t think anymore. Instead I was pleading for Jesus to help me soar through the minutes that felt like days.
Until one night, I woke up with the verse: perfect love castest away fear. I also woke up with the verse “humble yourself in the sight of God and He will lift you up”. It became a liberating moment. I prayed, asking God for not having perfect love for them. I was on the road to recovery, all with God and myself with the person in view. The test came when I had to meet them again. I felt like I was in an emotional torture just by seeing them. I was fighting internal battles, one, the Holy Spirit telling me to show love, but my fear gripping me, freezing my emotions, body language and my tongue. Once I was away from them, I became free again. I was nearly failing the test. I wasn’t happy with myself, neither could I justify it as God had already given me those verses as ammunitions.
A friend observed and spoke with me already what I knew. It was time to take things higher and rise above how I feel, but let God really work through me.
I am now passing the tests set in this school of experience. I met them again recently and God took control and I spoke. Never did I feel free. I saw them through God’s lens. It was truly a everlasting warm chocolate cake. Jesus held my hand and my emotions. When the weak moment came, it was God helped me to override it. Aaah. When moments to negatively react came, I smiled. I had truly forgiven and ha to the Devil, Jesus has won it for me. I don’t know about to tomorrow, but I know that today, God has liberated me.
Thank you Jesus for your grace!