“Sometimes you need to comfort the afflicted, but other times you need to afflict the comforted.”Dr. Greg Beale
True wisdom from God is knowing which one to impart. Job’s friends afflicted him when they should have been comforting him. I can think of many examples, though, when we comfort and should afflict. It is the classic co-dependent relationship – comforting when we should afflict. We comfort because it makes us feel better about the situation when we should afflict. Afflicting often means not saving oneself from oneself. It is not rescuing one from the consequence life afflicts on them.
Let me see if I can give an example. Your son left his homework at home and his teacher is not accepting late work. You notice it on the counter when you get home and so you quickly run it up to school so he won’t get a missing assignment. Good mom, right? What happens when next week he forgets to bring in his permission slip for the field trip and it is the last day to turn it in. (Keep in mind, he has had a week to turn it in.) You run home from whatever it is you were doing to get his slip so he won’t miss the trip. After all, can you imagine your child having to miss a field trip because of forgetfulness? What kind of parent would that make you – a good one. 🙂 Now, I am not talking about a once a year occurrence – we all forget things now and again. But we all have patterns of behavior that need to be stopped. Remember, wisdom is knowing when to help and when not to help.
I have watched friends mortgage their houses to pay off their child’s harmful habits. It didn’t start with a mortgage, but with saving them (comforting them) when they should have been afflicting. I am guilty because I am the mom who ran to school in her robe to bring in a permission slip. I am the mom who emails teachers consistently seeing if my son has missing work. I am a “fixer” and learning when I need to just stand back and let God “fix” it His own way. As my dad says, I need to resign as manager of the universe. Oh,my intentions are good – my methods, not so hot.
It is often the very situations we try to “save” people from that God can work His greatest good.
I am not sure if you are like me or not but the greatest hurts in this life have been the very thing that has made my walk with God so precious. The very things I thought would kill me are what made me more like Jesus. Yes, I have a long way to go but the affliction that hurt the worst helped the most.
“Sometimes I am so broken and so desperate for hope that I need to meditate on a comforting passage in Scripture, but other times these dry bones need a rebuke so that they can dance once again.*”
Which are you today?
Broken and Desperate? Seek Him today for His dose of comfort.
Dry and Hard? Seek Him today for your dose of medicine.