The Other Side of a Story (Job 14-16)

I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you.  But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief. (Job 16:4-5)

We live in a culture that applauds the armchair critics.  Everyone has a platform to speak his or her mind on the issues of the day without fear, behind the curtain of the Internet.  Things that we wouldn’t say to another person’s face are easily posted on a Facebook wall or within a blog post.

The problem with being an unchecked critic is that we only see one side of a story.  We know what we see, but we’ve never walked a day in the shoes of those we critique.

It’s easy to have an opinion when you’ve never lived the other side of a story.

But what if we heeded Job’s advice?  What if we sought to be an encouragement to those who are suffering?  What if rather than tearing down we sought to build up?  We might find that we didn’t really understand the situation all that well in the first place.  And in doing so, we might be a blessing to those who are truly struggling.

Father, help me to not be so quick to judge the actions of others.  Give me the wisdom to remember that I don’t know the entirety of a situation.  Give me the courage to be an encourager who brings blessing instead of a critic who brings frustration and discouragement.

About Seth

Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.


  1. Donna Huffmaster says:

    It can be discouraging for me to see some of the things that are posted on FB – I think of it as “artificial communication” very simply because you only “read” what is posted – there is no voice inflection, there are no facial expressions, nothing – just words – words that are powerful and often hurtful. The older I get the more I understand the importance of how I communicate and interpret information both positive and negative, especially when it is not a face to face discussion or I end up in the middle of a situation by expressing an opinion when I really don’t have all the facts! Thank you for reminding me to be mindful of my words- to be encouraging and not discouraging – I may be able to offer an apology or delete a comment, but I would never be able to erase the impact my comments may have had on another person.

    • Donna, I really appreciate your reminder there about not being able to erase the impact of a comment. I once heard someone say that our brains are like tape recorders that play back only the negative things that we hear. I’ve certainly been guilty of saying negative things to people, and I hate to think about how I’ve hurt others or even ruined relationships as a result of my foolishness. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

  2. Brian Mears says:

    I like reading your posts. Thanks for doing this. It has encouraged me to spend more time in the bible.

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