A number of years ago I found a terrific brand of black work shoe that I truly like at Payless Shoes. They have an air-pillow insole, leather uppers, and they are oil and slip resistant. The heel is about one inch high, and the sole is about half an inch high. That means they are comfortable and durable. Additionally, being at least half an inch off the ground means that I can step right through most puddles without worrying about getting my feet wet. I hate wet squishy shoes. And living in Florida where it rains a lot means there are plenty of opportunities to find puddles, so shoe-height is important to me.
There is an old Indian proverb that says, do not judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.
If I could remember the brand of shoe I wear, I’d recommend you get some and walk a few miles in them.
Which brings me to Bildad the Shuhite. His opening words to Job must have cut like a knife.
How long will you go on like this? Your words are a blustering wind. – Job 8:2
Translation: “Job, you’re such a windgbag! How long will you go on polluting the atmosphere with your mouth?”
This is a guy who has not stopped to put on Job’s moccasins. He has no true concept of what is really going on in Job’s life, but he’s decided that he knows the path Job has been on and which one Job must take. I think he is walking right into some pretty nasty puddles of condemnation, and Bildad’s shoe-height isn’t enough to keep his feet from soaking in the stinking sop. Instead of simply sitting and mourning with his friend, he joined in the self-righteous parade.
The sad thing is that I’m just as guilty. I may not say things to someone’s face, but in my heart I have. I’ve harbored thoughts and doubts deep down about a person’s motives, walk, and relationship with God based upon their external circumstances. But that is exactly where the crux of the matter lies, the heart. God looks at the heart, not the external. He will allow whatever is necessary to accomplish his result of molding our heart into one that is in the image of his son’s. So, while I’m busy being shoe-deep in crud, thinking self-righteous thoughts, God is shaping someone’s heart to be what he desires it to be.
If I’m honest I have to admit that I’m more Bildad with the rather low shoe-height than I am Jesus. But I want to be different.
Heavenly Father, please give the desire and ability to look at the heart, not the external. Please give me a discerning spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Put on Jesus’ shoes and walk above the puddle. Jan