Thursday, August 25, 2011

Extending Grace

I came across a verse today that smote my heart. I feel so convicted by it and wanted to share it you.

Job 24:12b "and the soul of the wounded crieth out; yet God layeth not folly to them.

I see in this verse an important element of God's character. For me, it reveals an attitude that can only be a result of God's great love and mercy toward us.

In this chapter of Job, we read a description of some very bad practices. And right smack in the middle of a long list of awful behavior is this statement about God's reaction to a wounded soul crying out.

What I find so convicting in this verse is that I'm afraid that if it were me, I probably would "lay folly to them". My attitude might be:

That's what they get.

They should have known better.

You made your bed, now lie in it.

Could have seen that coming.

They brought it on themselves.

But not our God. He hears the wounded... even if their wounds may be self inflicted.... and He lays not folly to them. After all, crying out to Him is the wisest thing they could possibly be doing. Our Father hears the cries of His children and doesn't think them foolish. He is always ready and eager to help us when when call upon Him.

How about me? When wounded souls cry for help, is my first reaction to just want to help, wherever they are? Or do I first have to think of all the failures they have done to deserve what they're suffering and think they are fools to want help now that all the damage has been done.

Because if the latter, I have surely forgotten what is written just a few chapters earlier:

Job 13:23 "How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin.

Do I offer a helping hand, or a turned up nose?

As people who have been blessed so abundantly with God's grace, let us not be reluctant to extend grace to others.

A partial retraction: A few hours after posting this, my husband came home. I, still excited over what God had shown me in my quiet time with Him, shared these verses with Seth. Instead of his usual positive comment, he took my Bible and read that chapter of Job. Then he read the one preceeding it. And, in the nicest of ways, told me I was a heretic. ;) Not really. But he did say he thought the verse didn't exactly say what I had taken it to say. I had been thinking of the word "folly" in the same way as foolishness. Like "oh you silly head to be crying out". But Seth said he believed that word folly was referring to the people's sin. And sure enough, the actual concordance agreed with my human concordance.

Folly in this verse comes from the word tiphlah: unsavouriness, unseemliness (moral).

So in light of this correct defining of "folly", I think Job 24:12 might be saying that God did not, at that time, hold them responsible for their folly, or moral unseemliness. But in verse 24 of that chapter it says "They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn." In other words, they got the spanking they deserved.

I'm leaving this post on, since I really spoke more of what the verse had made me feel rather than form a position of hard and fast "Thus saith the Lord". If anyone feels it would be a stumbling block, please say so and I'll remove it entirely.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Aren't you thankful for a wise husband? I am thankful for mine!

So, maybe your interpretation was flawed, but your point was spot-on....far too often we give judgement rather than love. There is, of course, time for rebuke...but never without the love. Thank you for the reminder!