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Blame for suffering

Are people being blamed for their suffering?

Something to read

If your children sinned against him, he delivered them into the power of their transgression.

- Job 8:4.

Something to think about

Imagine how Job felt when his ‘comforter’ Bildad said this to him about the children he had lost.

Job’s friends are trying to comfort him in his suffering. They listen to him, but they do not seem to fully engage with his pain. Is this why although they often speak true words about God, ultimately they fail to represent God truly?

In effect, Bildad is saying: ‘They got what they deserved.’

How often do those who suffer hear people or society saying, ‘You are getting what you deserve’?

Something to do

Listen out for people who unfairly assume that people are responsible for their suffering. It may be comments about refugees, people in poverty or other forms of suffering. Take the opportunity to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Something to pray


You refused to let a group of men put blame on a woman by writing in the sand.

Teach me to creatively, but firmly, stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves.


Peter McDowell is a lecturer in Missiology with Practical Theology at Belfast Bible College. Previously he has been a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and worked in Nepal.