Lemons are bitter. And so was our friend Job. But I hope your new year (and you) have been sweet so far. We're moving into chapter ten this week and it spawned a question. Have you ever been mad at someone and found yourself rehearsing what you want to say to them? Yep, that's Job in chapter ten.
Job starts right in with indignation. If we ever wondered how upset Job is at his circumstances and at God, this verse is the x that marks the spot.
"I am disgusted with my life. I will give vent to my complaint and speak in the bitterness of my soul." Job 10:1 (CSB)
I cannot judge Job here. While I have had some devastating circumstances in my life, the totality of them all could not touch what happened to Job. So I can understand his bitterness. Job appears to be operating under the theology that as long as I am "righteous" then bad things shouldn't happen to me. After all, why would a just God let all these bad things happen to me?
And something about that thought process feels right. But, at the same time, a verse comes to mind - Matthew 5:45. It says, " For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (CSB) We have the hindsight to know why God allowed Job to be in this situation. But even if we didn't, God is sovereign. If He never reveals to us the reason behind something and even if we never understand it this side of heaven (hint: we won't care once we get to heaven), we can trust that He knows what He is doing. And I've got news for us and Job....it's definitely not the persecution of us.
So how does Scripture answer Job's specific statement that he is reserving and exercising his "rights" to complain and be bitter. As a side note, does complaining and being bitter actually help anyone feel better? Just wondering! Anyway, Ephesians 4:31 gives a clear answer to those "rights".
" Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice." Ephesians 4:31 (CSB)
So not only is it not a good idea to be a complaining, bitter person, we're actually told it's off limits for us as Christians. And did you see that anger, wrath, slander and malice are wrapped up in this too? Because let's think about it. Once you start complaining, you get angry. And if you keep going, the anger grows. You stop trying to be accurate in your account and might start stretching the truth, calling names and getting loud. At least that's what I've experienced. And from this scripture, it seems like it's an accurate description of what happens. So I think it's safe to say that as we venture deeper into chapter ten and successive chapters, it's probably going to get messier.
As for us, we have our command. We need to stop that complaining before it starts. Try Philippians 4:8-9. I think it's a great tool to help keep complaining and all it's buddies away. Let me know how it works for you!