Someone has said, “Children can be cruel!” And it’s true! I remember as a child in elementary school seeing children that were a little different, children that weren’t “pretty,” children that were “poor,” or children that were disfigured or disabled, experience the taunts, the cruel giggles, even the outright harassment of other children! I remember one little girl in particular who had experienced the ravages of polio who walked with difficulty and the cruelty she experienced from other children. How mean! How sad!
But it’s not just children who can be cruel! I’ve observed adults, who should know better – who we would expect to show more maturity and concern for others – exhibit incredible cruelty toward those who should be shown compassion, concern and caring!
Job in the Bible, and the response of his “friends,” is a case study in cruelty! Job of whom God declared to Satan, the adversary and accuser, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (Job 1:8; 2:3) First of all Satan attacked him! And as a result Job lost everything he held dear… His children, his home, his possessions, even his health! His “friends” showed up for a little while to show comfort, but then when things didn’t change for the better quickly, they started their cruel analyzing and accusations!
Here is Job’s observation… “I am a laughingstock to my friends; I who called to God and He answered me – a just and blameless man am a laughingstock!” And then Job nailed the problem with much of the cruelty we see toward those who are suffering from those who aren’t – He observed, “IN THE THOUGHT OF ONE WHO IS AT EASE, THERE IS CONTEMPT FOR MISFORTUNE!” In other words it’s easy for those who aren’t experiencing pain, suffering, difficulties and trials to criticize and critique those who are experiencing challenges and problems!
God help me! I never want to be guilty of that!
Instead I want to be careful to practice what Apostle Paul urged followers of Jesus to do… “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience… and above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony!” (Colossians 3:12-14) And I want to remember the words of Jesus, Himself: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy!” (Matthew 5:7)