Don't be an Eliphaz friend. You may not remember who Eliphaz was. He was supposedly a friend to Job.
My husband has recently begun to preach a series on Sunday evenings focused on the book of Job. Last Sunday night, good ol' Eliphaz came onto the scene. If only he had stuck to his initial actions, he might have been a better friend. At first, he found Job sitting atop an ash heap, and simply joined him in his mourning. Then, he opened his mouth. Bad idea. He begins to tell Job that he has obviously done wrong and needs to repent. His faith must be small. He even uses a sentiment similar to: "If I were in your shoes ..."
Have you been there? Have so-called friends shown up when you experienced a crisis only to make you feel worse? Have you been quilty of adding to another friend's pain instead of helping?
Let's take a lesson from Eliphaz. When a friend is weathering a storm in her life, do go to her. But, don't offer advice unless asked for. I'm not sure if this is common all over the country, but in the South, people often visit the sick and explain about their experience with similar circumstances. My favorite is when a friend visits another in a hospital and states: "I had another friend that had what you have, and she died." Such comfort in those words. What a blessing (blatant sarcasm here). Other friends will say our faith is lacking or there must be some reason for this malevolent turn of events.
To be a true Christian friend, we may only need to sit with our friend - letting her know we're there. We should ask if there is anything we can do or take care of for her. We can tell and show that we love her. This is enough.
The next time you're called upon to be a true Christian friend, don't be an Eliphaz - be Christ.