I’ve been studying in Job. As you probably know, Job had several friends “helping” to get a clue as to what was going on in his life. In a nutshell, Job had everything of horizontal value systematically deleted from his life in fairly short order (read the first few chapters for this account) and the one who ought to have offered comfort and “completed” him during this time of suffering (his wife) bailed out on him as well.
Three of these men missed the mark (tho scraps of their assessment were nearly right). They soap-boxed. They sermonized. They waxed eloquent. They hypothesized. They filled the air with their words, and then were silenced. This was God’s stinging rebuke:
Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. Job 42:8
Ouch. I mean o-u-c-h.
Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar just didn’t get it. They were probably sincere, but mistaken. They relied upon their own reasoning, experience, and point of view in giving counsel to this poor, afflicted saint. Do you do this?
“Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.” Prov. 27:9
On this verse, Matthew Henry wrote,
The sweetness of friendship lies not in hearty mirth, and hearty laughter, but in hearty counsel, faithful advice, sincerely given and without flattery, by counsel of the soul (so the word is), counsel which reaches the case, and comes to the heart, counsel about soul-concerns, Ps. 66:16. We should reckon that the most pleasant conversation which is about spiritual things, and promotes the prosperity of the soul.
Be this kind of friend. Endeavor to offer this sort of counsel. Be honest. Sharpen. Speak the truth in love. Don’t lean upon your own understanding. You can be wrong. Your assessment of a situation can be skewed by emotion, faulty logic, opinion, and a host of other resources that are as unstable as water. Offer the Word, which is perfect, sure, clean, right, tried, (and a host of other marvelous adjectives).
Here is something else I found very helpful on this topic.