Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
The Character of Job
The Character of Job
Texts: Job 1:1, 8; Job 29:8-17; Job 31:1-23; Exodus 20:17; Matthew 7:22-27; Matthew 5:16; Ephesians 3:10
December 24, 2016
Character is both developed and revealed over time. Often in our world of tweets and soundbites, it’s easy to make snap judgements about people based on a single incident. Many thought they knew all about John McGraw and Rakeem Jones based on a confrontation last March.
McGraw punched Jones in the face at a Fayetteville, N.C., political rally in March. Jones had disrupted the rally and security personnel were escorting him out. As Jones and the authorities walked up the arena stairs, McGraw reached out and punched Jones. McGraw was initially unrepentant about hitting Jones, saying the 27-year-old black man deserved it. “The next time we see him, we might have to kill him,” the 79-year-old McGraw, who is white, said in a video clip. “We don’t know who he is. He might be with a terrorist organization.” At that point many passed judgment on both men’s characters: McGraw is obviously racist, and Jones is a disruptive malcontent.
The true measure of a person’s character is much more complex, however, than what we see in a single moment. We got a glimpse of the bigger picture of both men’s characters at McGraw’s court hearing on December 14 when he apologized to Jones and pled no contest to disorderly conduct and assault. McGraw told Jones that he was “extremely sorry this happened, I hate it worse than anything in the world. We’re caught up in a political mess today,” McGraw continued, “and you and me, we got to heal our country.”
McGraw then shook hands with Jones, and the two hugged as the courtroom burst into applause. “It just felt good being able to shake his hand and face him,” Jones said later. Both men demonstrated the opportunity for character growth through trials. 
It’s easy to base our assessment of Job’s character on what we see in a single snippet of Scripture, depending on where we pick up his story. Early in the book we see an apparently flawless man. Later we see Job the complainer. Who is he really? Our lesson this week looks at a fuller picture of Job’s character than what we can discern in a single passage. God knew enough about Job’s character early on to trust that Job would withstand Satan’s attacks. Through the story we see Job’s character develop as he faces trials that would devastate others.
Ultimately, we seen Job’s character strengthen as he trusts God through confounding circumstances. His illustration of character development becomes a model for us today. Thursday’s lesson includes this quote from Desire of Ages: “The very image of God is to be reproduced in humanity. The honor of God, the honor of Christ, is involved in the perfection of the character of His people.”
In Job’s story we see that Christ-like character is both developed and revealed over time.