by J. D. Williams
We are all familiar with the story of Job. The loss of all his material wealth not only affected him but his wife as well. Notice the question she asked him, "dost thou still hold fast thine integrity? Renounce God, and die" (Job 2:9). What prompted her to respond this way? Simply put, she was disappointed! She felt all of Job's efforts to worship God had gained them nothing and that God had failed to protect them from this terrible tragedy. Her wealth was gone too, as well as her husband's health, children and social standing. But their reactions were very different. Job said she spoke as one of the foolish women (and we may assume from this she was normally a level headed person) and "in all this did not Job sin with his lips" (Job 2:10). I've often wondered how many of us would have reacted as did Job's wife.
I dare say there is not one among us who hasn't suffered adversity to some degree or another. We may become disappointed with ourselves, with others or with things that do not come up to our expectations. One of the most powerful weapons Satan has in his arsenal is disappointment. A disappointed person is prone to react irrationally, or not use the good judgment they ordinarily would.
Perhaps the most hurtful of all is when one becomes disappointed with their brethren. This may cause them to say hurtful things or sometimes leave the church altogether. I know of situations where this has happened. And it's very difficult to ever bring them back into the fold. Solomon wrote, "a brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city" (Proverbs 18:19). Sometimes a person may feel their brethren don't care about them because they went through a difficult time, sickness or some other trying situation and no one offered to help or even bother to call or drop them a note expressing their concern. Oh, they will shake your hand, slap you on the back and say how good it is to see you. But that's the only time they have to talk to you. It seems you are their 'brother' only when they see you at the church building! Such lack of concern could certainly be view as hypocritical. Or they may have discussed their problem with them but they seemed unconcerned. And basically did not want to get involved, perhaps from fear, their friends might criticize them. Sometimes there may be a problem between brethren but one cares so little they don't even bother to tell them or just refuse to discuss it. And rather than putting forth an honest effort to resolve the matter (as the Scriptures teach) they just ignore the situation, stop calling, or having any further contact with them at all, hoping it will somehow get better on its own. Yet we are plainly told in Matthew 18:15, "If thy brother sin against thee, go show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother." But how can problems be resolved between brethren when they refuse to talk to each other? These problems will not just go away or solve themselves. While these unresolved issues often fade from our minds with the passing of years, no amount of time will fix them. Twenty years may go by, but they will still be there until they are dealt with. Even the strongest among us could become discouraged under those circumstances.
However, a person must recognize people don't always behave as they should, or even do what they know to be right. And we must not only have patience with them and stand ready to face these problems, but also to forgive. We often become too involved in our own lives and just neglect our duties toward our brethren. A constant reminder that we are our brother's keeper comes from studying God's word and then putting into practice the principles it teaches. And God will hold us accountable for neglecting our duty toward our brethren (Matthew 25:41-46). Life has its complications and we all will experience disappointment in our lives. How we react to them will show us how much love, trust, and faith we have in God and his word.