Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Job 32:1 (ESV)
So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.

Job 32:1 is really a summary of Job 31. In chapter 31 Job recites a number of possible sins. He lists infidelity and immorality, mistreatment of his workers, not helping the poor, lack of hospitality, trusting in his wealth instead of trusting in God, false worship, and pride. If any of these are true of him, Job is willing to accept the consequences. He acknowledges that he would deserve the consequences. Yet, he continues to insist that he has committed none of these sins, and no witnesses come forth to prove him wrong.

I find two things particularly interesting. First is Job’s list of sins. Infidelity and immorality, and perhaps false worship would make our list of Top Ten Sins, but the rest are often viewed as secondary sins. Yet when Job is talking about the worst sins he could possibly have committed, he includes things like trusting in his wealth, pride, lack of hospitality, and not helping the poor. Clearly his perspective on sin is different from ours. This ought to at least cause us to take a second look at the Scriptures to see what God’s view of serious sin is. Does our view really align with God’s?

The second thing I find interesting is that Job is more than willing to accept the consequences of any sin he has committed. I can’t tell you how often I have heard or seen believers using every means possible to avoid the consequences of their actions. To my shame, I can’t tell you how many times I have done that myself. Wouldn’t it be more honoring to God to just stand up, be honest, and take the consequences of our behavior? Wouldn’t it be more honoring to God if we were to admit and acknowledge our complicity rather than looking for excuses and casting blame? We don’t want to look bad. But let’s be honest. The more we try to excuse sin, the worse we look. We don’t want to defame God’s name. But, the more we try to cover sin, the more we defame the name of the God we serve. We don’t want to live with the consequences. We’re not sure we can live with the consequences. Since when was following God about keeping us happy and comfortable? It is time we honestly accept the consequences of our own behavior.

Is Job’s integrity intact? It appears so. No witnesses came forward to verify that he had done any of the sins he listed. We, on the other hand, too often try to excuse our sin, water down the reality of our sin, or ignore it altogether, and expect to avoid the consequences. Maybe we need to add dishonesty to the top of our list of Top Ten Sins. As I read Job, these questions haunt me: Am I willing allow my life to be openly probed and evaluated like Job was inviting? Am I willing to face the consequences of my actions? What would happen if Christians stopped trying to maintain an appearance of righteousness and just owned up to our brokenness? How might the world see us differently? These are questions worth considering. It is time that we, as a people who claim to value honesty, start living honestly.

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