Christians are reminded by James to model the patience of Job. The ESV translates patience as steadfastness.
“Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” — James 5:11
It is important as a church to be encouraged to endure suffering as Job did. His patience is a model for us to emulate as we lean on and trust our Lord in all things. If mercy and compassion seem to be lacking, it is faith and trust in HIM that will eventually reveal what mercy and compassion truly are. The Apostle Peter reminds us to not be shocked when trials come our way. He also encourages the Christian not to bring suffering on himself as we are all prone to do from time to time.
“12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you…..15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.” — 1 Peter 4:12, 15
Not all suffering is a trial by God. Far too often, we bring suffering onto ourselves through meddling in business not our own. The meddler is the busybody, the gossip, the nosy person who has nothing better to do than to cause suffering for others. However, it is the busybody, the gossiper, who will eventually bring trouble on himself. The Apostle Paul encourages the Corinthian church following a harsh battle with his accusers. A small group of busybodies infiltrated the church and discredited the Apostle with gossip and lies. Paul’s heart is expressed to the church in the situation:
“Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you.” — 2 Corinthians 2:5
See, the truth about gossip is that it hurts not just one person, but the body of Christ. I admire Paul’s attitude toward his accusers. He takes no personal offense at the troublemakers. Instead he shows that the true victim of busybodies and gossips is the church of our Lord. It is the body of Christ that suffers when idle talk and gossip stir up trouble. Peter and Paul handled troublemakers the same way. Not by taking personal offense, but by showing that the church as a whole suffers and should not tolerate idle gossip from those within its ranks.
Job endured the lies and attacks of his three friends and was counted as an example to the early church. As those outside of the faith attack those within the faith, the true Christian will endure the suffering, but will also stand firm in the gospel. As a result, it is God and his church that stands strong. The busybodies who infiltrate the church, who have nothing better to do than to spread lies and rumors, only bring harm to themselves while attempting to harm the church.
How do you handle idle gossip and rumors? Do you join in the talk? or do you remind the person stirring up trouble that it is the church they are harming rather than the individual they are attacking?
— Pastor Bryant