Job’s three “friends,” Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, weren’t very friendly. Despite their sincere desire to help, almost everything they said to Job served to tear him down. Without mercy, they falsely condemned him as a horrific sinner who deserved every ounce of his suffering.
We must avoid their tactics if we want to please God at how we conduct ourselves in conflict. In this two-part series, we’ll look at 10 ways to do just that.
1. Don’t gang up.
Job was outnumbered three to one with no one to vouch for him, not even his wife! Ganging up isn’t fair. Or kind. If we have a concern with someone, we should approach him in private (Matt. 18:15). Even if we must bring witnesses, the point is not to overpower the individual but simply to provide verification of the facts (Matt. 18:16).
2. Respond to actual arguments.
Job’s friends repeatedly debunked the notion that man can be pure before God. Yet Job never claimed to be sinless. They constructed a straw man argument and easily destroyed it, which accomplished nothing. They should’ve accurately represented his position by seeking first to understand it. So should we (John 7:24).
3. Assume the best.
With no evidence, Job’s friends accused him of great wickedness, operating by the backwards principle “guilty until proven innocent.” This is not love. Love “believes all things and hopes all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). We should consider everyone innocent until proven guilty, especially our brethren.
4. Repent before rebuking.
Ironically, Job’s friends sinned in the very act of condemning him of sin. They were the ones in need of repentance, not Job. The lesson: always remove the log from your own eye before removing the speck from someone else’s (Matt. 7:1-5).
5. Avoid name-calling.
The word idiot is found only once in the entire Bible—in Job chapter 11. When Zophar’s arguments fell flat, he called Job an unintelligent idiot (11:12)! We should never stoop to Zophar’s level. Insulting is rude, and rudeness is sinful (1 Cor. 13:5). If you get frustrated in an argument, remain calm and be polite, whether you’re right or wrong.
I hope these points are helpful to you. They sure are to me! In the next article, I’ve cover five more ways to fight fair.