Today’s Readings: Job 2:11-3:26; Galatians 3:23-29; Psalm 26
I have a personality trait that often gets me into trouble. BIG trouble! That trait is that I LOVE to solve problems.
Now on the surface, that may sound like a very good thing – as problems are generally things most people like to see go away. There is one area, however, where being a problem solver can get you into lots of trouble. That area is personal relationships.
I’ve learned repeatedly over the years that when loved ones come to me and wants to talk about a problem– the last thing they want is for me to propose a solution. What do they want instead? Someone to simply listen to them as they blow off steam. The more I remember this (and fight my natural inclination to problem solve) the better I get along with my loved ones.
I was reminded of this important lesson in today’s reading from Job – for in that passage Job’s associates do something truly remarkable: they keep their mouth shut and simply listen to their friend who is in complete misery. What a concept! Of course later in the book, Job’s friends mess things up by opening their mouths – but I’ll leave that for another day. In today’s passage, they know enough to keep their mouths shut.
Perhaps there is a situation in your life where you are tempted to do what I often do: problem solve. If that’s the case, you might try following the example of Job’s friends and do the most important thing a person can do with a loved one: listen. Til next time…