Wisdom and love

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Eliphaz reveals how his suspicions of Job were confirmed.  “A spirit glided past my face” one night with a message: Nobody’s perfect (Job 4:12-17).  In Eliphaz’s mind, that explains Job’s sufferings.  But more, his simplistic moralism casts a shadow on God: “Even in his servants he puts no trust, and his angels he charges with error” (Job 4:18).  In other words, God is fault-finding and accusing.  That’s the moral calculus of the universe.

“Nobody’s perfect” is indeed true, but hardly a breakthrough insight, nor even relevant in Job’s case.  It does, however, create a mentality of suspicion and accusation.  And ultimately, it projects that darkness of heart onto God himself.

Wisdom, by contrast, makes us suspicious of our own suspicions.  Wisdom stops, rather than spreads, a spirit of accusation.  Wisdom gives the benefit of the doubt, whenever possible.   Wisdom, like love, “believes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7), filling in the blanks with positive assumptions.

God does sit in judgment over us all — with perfect wisdom and love, for the sake of Jesus Christ his Son, the crucified Friend of sinners.

Our part?  “Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent” (Proverbs 11:12).  And, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:24).

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