As a Police Officer I have done things that I wish I never had to do. I’ve been a nameless face to many persons worst day of their life. I’ve held the hand of a young lady as she passed from this life unto the next. I’ve stored a lot of memories that, left to my own purposes, I would rather erase. Chief among these memories was a “run” that I made when I was still a uniformed officer. It was early 2006 and I happened to be right by a home where a father had found his son dead of what appeared to be a suicide. The son was only 16 years old.
I wish I could go back to that day and call in sick. I saw the young man. Without giving unnecessary details he was in a state of near undress. His father had placed him on the floor and was knelt down over him experiencing a type of pain and suffering that I never ever want to witness again as long as I live; much less experience myself. It was in this moment of pain that the teenager’s father turned, looked me in the eye and asked if it was too late to get a priest to come and administer last rites. What was I to say?
There were a lot of theologically true statements that I could have made to the father at that moment. I could have pointed to the holiness of God and the wretchedness of sin. I could have explained that it is appointed a man to die once and then the judgment. Both statements would have been as true as anything that was ever said. However neither one was what I believed God wanted me to do. I just put my arm around the man and allowed myself to cry with him.
Job 25 and 26 are the two shortest chapters in the book. In the midst of Job’s pain, Bildad the Shuhite speaks a few scathing yet true words about God’s holiness and man’s sinful presence before Him. Then Job responds. I believe I can paraphrase Job. He in essence says, “I know God is Holy and while my “guilt” did not cause my situation; I know that I am not innocent. However right now; I just need a real friend.” Job doesn’t need a spiritual detective… he needs a loving brother.
Truth is always of the utmost importance. However we as believers must let the Holy Spirit lead our speech if we are going to be “truthful encouragers.” Let us each examine ourselves and ask if we counsel out of our own knowledge, or do we let God’s loving truth speak through us? “Lord, let my words be Your words… and my thoughts be Your thoughts.”