One of my favorite books in the Bible is the book of Job. It is the oldest book in God's Word and it contains great truths about our God, wisdom about life, and direction for the trials of everyday. Having grown up in church, I have heard many sermons out of this wonderful book, and have preached and taught through the book of Job. Every time I have heard a sermon from this book, whenever the subject of Job's wife comes up, she is always painted in a negative light.
Now I know what she is most famous for saying: "Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die." What a great word of encouragement from your partner and closest ally in the middle of a trial!
Before you jump on the "Throw Job's wife under the bus" bandwagon, let me remind you of a couple of things that led up to her saying these infamous words:
1. Their livestock was stolen (Job 1:14)
2. Their employees were killed (Job 1:15)
3. Their sheep were killed in a firestorm along with their shepherds (Job 1:16)
4. Their camels were stolen (Job 1:17)
5. Their camel herders were killed (Job 1:17)
6. All of their children were killed at a party when the house collapsed on them during a tornado (Job 1:18-19)
*All of these events happened in ONE DAY!
7. Job was struck with a horrible skin disease (Job 2:7-8)
Job and his wife have lost their possessions, they have lost their businesses, they have lost their children, and now Job has lost his health. It is within this context that Job's wife states: "Curse God and die." Through all of this, Job has maintained his integrity, but his wife has literally had a melt down due to the pressure and stresses in life. How do we think we would do with that kind of day?
I think we need to cut her some slack!
1. Everyone handles pressure differently and that is ok.
Job has lost everything and has not even come close to wavering, his wife on the other hand has had as much as she can possible take. God has made each of us differently, many can handle huge amounts of stress and pressure, while others cannot walk a chew gum at the same time. Pressure is pressure and not everyone can handle it the same way. It is still ok! Cut people slack who do not handle the pressure and cares of life the same way you handle them.
2. People say things and do things they don't mean when they are under pressure.
Recently, I had a friend who said some pretty awful things to me on the phone. When he said them, I immediately knew something was wrong. I called his wife and she told me he was on the verge of losing his job. I called him back and set up a coffee appointment. When he came in the door, he literally broke down in tears and said "I didn't mean one thing I said to you, I am just under it bro!" Haven't we all been there before?
3. Job's wife was a good woman.
The Bible states in Job 1 that Job walked with God, he made sacrfices to God, he raised his family to follow God, and he perpetually prayed for his children. You cannot have a man doing all of these things without a good woman alongside and on board. I believe Mrs. Job was a very good woman, but even good people can say bad things sometimes.
4. Don't let one mistake define your memory of a good person.
God's greatest champions made horrible mistakes and said some hurtful things to others. Just because someone makes a big mistake, do not let that one mistake define their entire life and memory! God is gracious and we should be as well! I have had the responsiblility to preach many funerals over the years, and one thing is for certain: Life is way too short and relationships are far too valuable to only remember one another's failures. For every child who has been disappointed by a parent, every spouse disappointed by their spouse, every friend hurt by the words or actions of another friend; Value the relationship and remember the blessings! Don't let one mistake define your memory of a good person!
5. Don't forget that God is still writing our story, even after we say and do dumb things!
If all we had was Job 2, we would think that Job's wife was written off by God and that is her all done and dusted. (*Had to throw in my British slang) But God uses us even after we say and do dumb things, aren't you glad for that?!?!
The end of the book of Job finds Job and his wife rejoicing with more children, greater possessions, and a deeper understanding of our God and His work in their lives. God delights in using and blessing our lives, even after we have failed.
So cut Mrs. Job some slack today and while your at it, lets all cut each other a little slack today. We all need it!