When the Narcissist will not Weep, Part 3

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Arrogance of Blindness

We can look at the friends of Job. Notice that they are said to be his friends. This is meaningful to us because they have a past with Job. They know him well. We so often identify Job when it may behoove us to realize we could easily identify with his friends. When our brother is in pain, we are likely to break the silence with a word out of season (cf. Proverbs 15:23). Why would we do such a thing? We think our answers are the balm needed. We have the solution, and we know the right time to give it. We refuse to take time in the situation to learn from the one who is suffering. We arrogantly proclaim that we must know the situation better. We know the pain better. We presume to be wise. We are fools. It is as though a question is being asked in suffering that the one suffering needs to answer. However, unless we are astute in our listening to the question, we answer too quickly. We share the guilt of the one in the proverb who “gives an answer before he hears”; indeed, it becomes our “folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13). We need to be have the heart of the righteous who “ponders how to answer” and not have “the mouth of wicked [which] pours out evil things” (Proverbs 15:28).

Our quick answer shows that we are blind to the true nature of the suffering. We have not shared in the pain. We pour out abstract theology, but we fail to apply it appropriately. We make a mockery of the faith with our arrogant eloquence or quick cliché. We do not linger over love. We trivialize truth. We presume to bring peace and only exacerbate the situation. We are vinegar on the wound. The best thing Job’s friends did was showing up and shutting up. They went astray when they opened their mouths. A time for words will come, but knowing the time takes wisdom and prayer. Use the time to pray for the appropriate words. We need to discern the pain.