1. We don't know everything.
Job never did figure out the cause of his suffering; neither did any of his friends. That alone should be enough to inspire humility.
2. The things we know don't always help.
Job's friends picked up the idea that sin causes suffering -- something that is true enough . . . then reversed it, turned this reversal into a Universal Principal, and used it to "prove" the only possible cause of Job's suffering must be the fact he had sinned. They took the little bit of truth they had, in other words, and made it speak to a situation it was never meant to address.
3. But the things we don't know shouldn't make us forget the things we do.
Job's friends didn't know why Job suffered -- but they did know how to treat people who suffer. But as Job continually complained, they ignored the second in order to focus on the first . . . and in doing so, they earned Job's anger, God's condemnation, and our contempt.
A suggestion: the next time we gather to decide A Great Issue of the Day -- the age of the earth, single-sex marriage, the propriety of applause in church . . . it might be useful if we began the meeting with the lessons of Job:
- We don't know everything.
- The things we know don't always help.
- But the things we know shouldn't make us forget the things we do -- things such as Christ's command that we love each other.