It would be wrong to say we should never confront someone the way Eliphaz does when he rebukes Job in our reading today, but if you ever do, you’d better be right, and the one you correct had better be very wrong.
Eliphaz accuses Job of being unwise (Job 15:1), a foolish talker (Job 15:2), deceitful (Job 15:4), and led astray by sin (Job 15:5). Oh, and Eliphaz also suggests Job is unwilling to listen to the wise, while implicitly suggesting Job is a man wicked (Job 15:20-22) who rebels against God (Job 15:25-26) and who will shortly see the futility of his past riches (Job 15:27-35). Eliphaz, as the phrase goes, rakes Job over the coals.
Now if these accusations were true and Eliphaz could know this with certainty, his words wouldn’t be so problematic. Unfortunately, we know that Eliphaz, in his presumption, assumes something false about God, i.e., God would only allow the guilty to suffer. Because of this assumption, Eliphaz speaks terrible falsehoods against Job. No wonder Job calls these folks horrible physicians who should just heal themselves.
Confrontation in love is important (Ephesians 4:15), but when we confront, we’d better have our facts straight, and our theology ought to be sound. If not, we risk sounding as harsh and foolish as Eliphaz.