While we don’t know another’s heart and can’t assume their suffering is the result of sin, … is sin sometimes the cause of our suffering?
Job 7 & 8
Job 7 & 8:
Sufferers and sinners
In chapter 7 Job pours out his complaints to his friends and to God and tries to justify his desire to die and bring all this suffering to an end.
Though there are times when we have to exhort, even rebuke, one another because we have gotten into excessive sorrow or self-pity, there are, also, times when we just need to listen and let them pour out their hearts. Bob Kellemen calls it “soulcare.”
In chapter 8 another of Job’s friends, Bildad, responds but with the same underlying belief that Job somehow brought this on himself. Though not everything he says is wrong, it’s his assumption that Job caused his own suffering which is in error. Remember God Himself said Job was, “blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil” (1.1).
That doesn’t mean our suffering is never the result of sin. Often it is caused, or at least complicated, by our own sin. Mike Wilkerson, in his book Redemption
says we are all fellow sinners and fellow sufferers. It may be that we were sinned against, sometimes in grievous ways. But we can respond to the other person’s sin with anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness, with denial, by turning to drugs or alcohol, by acting out sexually, or other sinful and self-defeating ways.
And there are times when we must lovingly confront one another, even when we understand that the person was also sinned against:
1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6.1-2).
How can we keep ourselves from being “overtaken in a trespass”?
How do we keep ourselves from ending up in the ditch because of some sin?