Job 11:14-15 (NIV) 14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, 15 then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.
On verses 13-20: When you look at Zophar’s entire speech in chapter 11, a good portion of what Zophar has said is technically correct. For example, yesterday in our look at verses 1 to 13 we identified numerous points that Zophar correctly made. Now what was wrong with what Zophar said? The problem is that Zophar’s guiding assumption was incorrect: like Eliphaz and Bildad before him, Zophar falsely assumed that Job’s sin was the cause of his suffering (v14). Thus, no matter how technically true Zophar’s statements were, virtually all of what Zophar had to say was not helpful or relevant for Job to hear. Zophar was trying to sell something to Job that Job did not need and that would not help Job’s situation.
What can we learn from this? When a person is in pain, there are all sorts of things you could say that may be true. The question is: is it helpful or needed for you to say it right now? It takes a certain amount of wisdom to know what is technically true, but it takes even more wisdom to say “only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
Like Zophar, Eliphaz and Bildad, we need to THINK before we speak. In other words, before you speak, ask yourself:
T – Is it true? Do I have my facts straight? Have I made any wrong assumptions about the person or the situation?
H – Will it hurt the person if I say this? If so, is it worth causing that hurt?
I – Does it inspire courage and hope if I say this?
N – Is it necessary? Even if what I am saying is true, do people really need to hear this right now? Is this the right time and place to be talking about this?
K – Is it kind? Am I saying what I am saying in the kindest way that I can?
We talk about this more in THRIVE Discipleship School Level 2: Love One Another. Be sure to take that class if you haven’t already.
Just because what you know is true doesn’t mean it is helpful or necessary for you to say it.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would not just say what is true, but also what is helpful for building others up according to their needs. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!