Many things can be said about Facebook – some of them good, some of them bad. But I bet very few of them tie Facebook to the book of Job.
Facebook is, in many ways, like the “water cooler” of another age. It’s the meeting place for millions of people – where they can share the good, the bad, their frustrations, their sadness, their victories, their defeats. In short, it’s an opportunity to share life with your friends whether they are across town, across the country or around the world.
And many of those “life moments” that are shared are not happy ones. Death, job losses, plane cancellations, ChickV virus impacting little children, troubles with __________ (fill in the blank with your choice).
One of the things that I’ve noticed is that when someone posts one of those moments that aren’t happy, there are a lot of friends who respond, not with a simple, “I’m sorry.” Or, I’ll be praying that it improves or I hear you. No, instead the tendency is to “spout” Bible verses. Verses about God having a plan, verses about God not giving us more than we can bear, verses about the “joys” of being a Christian.
People, that is NOT what someone wants to hear when they just dealt with a job loss. That is not what they want to hear when they just finished helping their child through a major emotional crisis.
Read Job 2:11-13 (The Message) about what Job’s friends did after he lost everything – all of his earthly belongs and all of his children:
Three of Job’s friends heard of all the trouble that had fallen on him. Each traveled from his own country—Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuhah, Zophar from Naamath—and went together to Job to keep him company and comfort him. When they first caught sight of him, they couldn’t believe what they saw—they hardly recognized him! They cried out in lament, ripped their robes, and dumped dirt on their heads as a sign of their grief. Then they sat with him on the ground. Seven days and nights they sat there without saying a word. They could see how rotten he felt, how deeply he was suffering.
There were a lot of other things that they screwed up on, but in this issue, I think they got it right. For 7 days and nights, all they did was sat with their friend Job in his sorrow. They didn’t try to say anything to cheer him up. They didn’t try to make it go away. They sat in the sadness and made sure their friend didn’t feel alone.
The next time one of your friends, in real life or on Facebook, posts some bad news, some sad news, some difficult news, don’t try to make it all better. Odds are very good that they know all of those verses already. Instead, sit with them in their sadness. Allow them to be angry, allow them to feel sad, to mourn the loss. Be with them, make sure they don’t feel alone.
That’s the best gift that Facebook can give someone who is hurting…….