Inside Out is a 2015 American 3D computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures.

A girl named Riley is born in Minnesota, and within her mind, five manifestations of her emotions—Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger—come to life. The emotions live in Headquarters, Riley’s conscious mind, where they influence Riley’s actions and memories via a control console.

Heidi Grant Halvorson says, “If you have a brain, you’re automatically biased … The process of perception is, not surprisingly, a biased one. We have loads of biases hardwired into our brains …”

Like the characters from the movie “Inside out” (Pixar and Walt Disney’s animated comedy drama), my biases seek to control my emotions and push buttons and twist knobs to help me, but mostly to hinder me, in my interactions with others and in understanding my world. They are hired and fired at will, but encountered in all areas of life.

Faces of my Bias © Ross Cochrane

Faces of my Bias © Ross Cochrane

A quiet, patient, good-natured person who doesn’t look that unusual on the outside. But dive into the grey matter of my psyche, and you’ll find, hiding behind the shelves of my attitudes, lurking in the forests of my subconscious, and taking shape in the clouded dreams of my imagination, the many faces of my biases.

I wonder what would happen if our negative biases completely took over the controls of our thinking? It seems Zophar has a control problem with his biases and treats Job badly.

Job has already objected to this kind of treatment, “One should be kind to a fainting friend, but you accuse me without any fear of the Almighty. My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook…” (Job 6:14-17 NLT).

Who are the characters of bias? What can I do to redirect the power of negative bias into something that lines up with what God intends for my life?

DARREN, THE DEFECTIVE DOCTOR (Selective Bias and Myside Bias)

Snake Doctor by Ross Cochrane

Snake Doctor by Ross Cochrane

I am suffering at the moment with a cold; coughing and spluttering and my brain feels like it is packed tightly in sponge and being bounced down the slope of a mountain. I love it when people pray for my healing. These are the encouraging words of life that wash over my soul and bring God’s healing grace.

  1. A Patient Re-Examination rather than a Hasty Diagnosis

When Darren is at the controls at Headquarters, Zophar is the kind of Doctor who gets it wrong by making up his mind too quickly and stubbornly, pursuing the wrong course of treatment? He interprets Job’s symptoms to favour and confirm his own misconstrued diagnosis, beliefs and faulty assumptions (Selective Bias). I don’t want the difference between amputation and ointment to be dependent on Darren.

Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy says, “opinion—hasty—often can incline to the wrong side, and then affection for one’s own opinion binds, confines the mind” (Quoted in Wikipedia).

In utter frustration, Job says to his friends, “As for you, you smear me with lies. As physicians, you are worthless quacks. If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do. Listen to my charge; pay attention to my arguments” (Job 13:4-6 NLT).

Whenever I refuse to search for why my initial ideas about a person may be wrong, I hamper my ability to investigate for the truth in a more neutral, forensic and spiritually unbiased way. A patient re-examination of my biases in the light of God’s Word gives me greater perspective. Then I can decide what attitudes should be challenged to effect internal change.

Overcoming negativity is a daily commitment to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, a willingness to be educated in the ways of God, a daily habit of guarding against negative bias, adjusting my thinking, seeking to see the bigger picture from God’s perspective and allowing Him to remove the internal obstacles along the way.

  1. Open-Mindedness Rather than Narrow Thinking

Zophar lacks an “active open-mindedness,” (Myside bias). Like an Audiologist with a hearing problem, the sound of Job’s arguments are not getting through to the inner ear. There’s build-up of Myside Bias wax in the auditory canal. He is not paying attention and his lack of concern is eroding the quality of his relationship with Job.

By open-mindedness, I am not saying that we accept everything, but a willingness to look at things from as many angles as possible before coming to a conclusion, especially when it comes to relationships. Am I seeking to look for the best rather than the worst in people. Don’t be bullied by Darren into limited thinking.

  1. Responsible Compassionate Service rather than Impulsive Bias-Driven Rhetoric

Job would love one of his friends to pray for his healing or ask how to help. That obviously hasn’t occurred to Zophar as yet. Zophar just wants to put in his two cents worth. He is just as intractable as the last time he spoke. He says in Job 20:2-3 (NLT) “I must reply because I am greatly disturbed … my spirit prompts me to reply.” And then he unloads on Job.

Ever said this? It’s a lie. The truth is I don’t have to reply just because I feel an impulsive urge to say something because I am annoyed, defensive, or angry. In fact, that is probably the best time to leave things unsaid. Zophar is out of line and it would have been better if he had been out of words.

Am I more inclined to have an impulsive bias-driven response for why a person suffers or am I the person who asks “What can I do to help?” The answer to that question will test my understanding of compassion. Be determined to live a life of service rather than question the integrity of those who suffer. Invest in others by speaking words of life.


Broken Life by Ross Cochrane using Morguefiles and

Broken Life by Ross Cochrane using Morguefiles and

  1. Get The Full Story rather than Rely on Skewed Perceptions

The evidence is skewed by his hasty generalizations based on insufficient evidence. Zophar has obtained his newsbreaking story but refuses to investigate for the truth. He refuses to think of all the variables.

The words of the song “Oh, Lord, only the good die young” are reversed by Zophar. His headline is, “Only the Wicked Die Young.” His argument goes like this, “the triumph of the wicked has been short-lived and the joy of the godless has been only temporary?” (Job 20:5 NLT). In other words, Job you’re about to die before your time, so you must be wicked. Very encouraging! Very wrong!

Job suggest that Zophar takes a good look around him. It is obvious that what he is saying isn’t true. It is nonsense to say that the wicked die young. Job points out that often they “prosper, growing old and powerful… And yet they say to God, ‘Go away. We want no part of You and Your ways. Who is the Almighty, and why should we obey Him? What good will it do us to pray?’” (Job 21:7,14 NLT).

All Zophar has to do is look around to see that what he is saying isn’t true. Abel disproves his theory. Sometimes the righteous do die young. And years later so will Jesus. Zophar, like Connor, is spouting theories that don’t have any backing in real life or in the Truth handed down to him concerning his faith.

What could be happening in this picture? Who do I need to talk to? What evidence do I have that may be flawed? Perceptions have as much power as reality. Avoid sweeping statements and generalizations arising from taking an anti-stance on life.

  1. Humility to Admit I May be Wrong rather Than Overconfident Conclusions

Like negative newspaper editors, Job’s friends have an excessive amount of confidence in their own conclusions about Job (overconfidence effect). They will print the story as they see fit. They think they are 100% right. At the end of the book, God calls them to account for their slanderous narrative.

Like an impatient paratrooper who has jumped too early, do I leap to the wrong conclusions and land in the wrong field entirely at key moments of communication? When I exercise humility, and admit that I could be wrong, I am more likely to see things I may have missed. Adjust my thinking to looking for the best rather than the worst.

CARL, THE CONFUSED CLAIRVOYANT (Mind Reading and Fortune-Telling Bias)

Crystal Ball © By Ross Cochrane

Crystal Ball © By Ross Cochrane

  1. Optimism rather than Pessimism

Acting as mind readers, Job’s friends are over-influenced by Carl and give Job a malicious appraisal and predict a negative future. They predict, “No one will remember you. … thrust from light into darkness, driven from the world … neither children nor grandchildren, nor any survivor in the place where you lived … God’s anger will descend …”

Zophar is great with his analogies but a bit GROSS. He says in effect, like the wicked, Job will fade away and be forgotten, thrown away like their own DUNG….They will VOMIT the wealth they swallowed. God won’t let them keep it down.” (Job 20:7,15 NLT).Their children will beg on the streets and die young.

He virtually accuses Job of oppressing the poor and destitute, of being greedy and never satisfied. He hasn’t read Job 1 obviously. He looks at Job and says, “This is the reward that God gives the wicked. God’s anger will descend on them in torrents” (Job 20:28-29 NLT).

Nice one Zophar! Slap a man while he is down and heap on him a curse while you are at it. Rather than gathering around a crystal ball of retribution, it would be good if the prayer meeting for their sick friend started sometime soon, but it’s nowhere on the horizon.

But then, I’m not sure I would want to receive the sort of prayers these guys have to offer – full of judgment and curses.

I am not ruled by what might happen. Give no place to Carl at the controls of Headquarters, trying to predict the worst possible scenarios based on “What if…” especially when I am an Ambassador for Christ, speaking at times about spiritual issues to my hurting friends.

I am an instrument of Christ’s hope when I look for the best outcomes based on God’s mercy in turning cursing to blessing. I can create a legacy for the next generation based upon God’s Word. Nothing is impossible with God, especially when I refuse to allow my biases to sabotage my relationships and my attitudes. I determine to build my perceptions on the truth of God’s word so that I can find the solutions, not just the problems.

It’s not a sweet cartoon about character that is taking place in Job. Sin is biased towards negativity, painting a blacker picture of my world, creating clouded memories and dysfunctional relationships. Christ died for my sin and the fruit of the Holy Spirit gives perspective to biases.

“… the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT).

Christ is the only competent person I can trust at the controls of Headquarters.

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NLT).

Pastor Ross


“Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons” (Michael Shermer).



Researchers today call it the Just-World Hypothesis, a term associated with Melvin J. Lerner and a topic which became the focus of his research in the field of Social Psychology.

The belief in a just-world implies the existence of cosmic justice, destiny, divine providence, an inherent law of stability, or order, and unfortunately the belief in this law is used to rationalize the misfortune of people on the grounds that they “deserve” it.

Many religions today believe in a prevailing divine justice, either in this life or in the life to come. Job’s friends believe Job is suffering as a result of his wickedness and he is facing the divine consequences of his choices. They do not believe that bad things can happen to good people. They are saying in effect “You got what was coming to you”, “What goes around comes around” and, “You reap what you sow”, “You deserve it.”

Melvin J. Lerner

In his experiments as a social psychologist, Melvin J. Lerner repeatedly witnessed the tendency of observers to blame victims for their suffering.

In one such experiment, Lerner recruited 75 women for his study. The participants watched a video they thought was live feed of events in the next room. They watched a person, answering questions. If the answers given were incorrect, the person received painful shocks (No shocks were actually given because the videotape involved a good actor). After watching, different groups of the women were given various choices and finally asked to make ratings about the person who received the shocks, using a scale that recorded how the observer felt about the victim.

It was noted that although the observers were upset with seeing the person being shocked, they did not try to intervene, but instead, in time, began to “put down” the victim as deserving what they got.

The results imply that when we are helpless in a situation where someone is suffering, we tend to believe that the victim is responsible. We can devalue victims by assuming they somehow deserve to suffer. In order to do this, we have to devalue victims by attributing to them a more negative character.

The results provide support for the hypothesis that people have a great need to find a coping solution for their anxiety when they encounter someone suffering and they do this by believing in a just world.

Job’s friends believe that the world is fundamentally just, and so they rationalize the suffering of Job as being deserved, without acknowledging that he may be a victim of something other than the judgment of God (see Job 1,2).

In Job 4:7-9 (NLT), Eliphaz says to Job, “Stop and think! Do the innocent die? When have the upright been destroyed? My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same.”

For Job’s friends, his actions have brought a morally fair and fitting consequence. They believe that all godly actions are rewarded and all evil actions are punished.

In Job 22:4-30 (NLT) Eliphaz says, “Is it because you’re so pious that God accuses you and brings judgment against you? No, it’s because of your wickedness! There’s no limit to your sins.” He goes on to give examples of Job’s presumed wickedness and then says, “Will you continue on the old paths where evil people have walked? … “Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you. … If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored— so clean up your life. … ”

When they saw his suffering; loss of children, wealth and health, Job’s friends were more inclined to condemn and reprimand Job for some supposed sin. They were less inclined to believe his innocence and pray for him. Somehow they believed he deserved what he got.

Job 8:3-8 (NLT) Bildad says, Does God twist justice? Does the Almighty twist what is right? Your children must have sinned against Him, so their punishment was well deserved…” 

“Lerner hypothesized that the belief in a just world is crucially important for people to maintain for their own well-being. But people are confronted daily with evidence that the world is not just: people suffer without apparent cause. Lerner explained that people use strategies to eliminate threats to their belief in a just world. These strategies can be rational or irrational. Rational strategies include accepting the reality of injustice, trying to prevent injustice or provide restitution, and accepting one’s own limitations. Non-rational strategies include denial, withdrawal, and reinterpretation of the event” (Wikipedia – Article about Melvin Lerner).

Job invites us to acknowledge that we do not live in a just-world. Bad things happen to good people all the time. We only have to look at what happened to Jesus, unjustly tried and condemned to death. And disturbingly God’s Justice was satisfied through His sacrifice so that our sin could be forgiven. Not our idea of a just-world, but God, it seems, does not co-operate with our theories of justice, and offers us grace; that which we do not deserve.

Job also invites us to trust in this totally just God, who exercises justice in His ways, not according to the timing or rules we set for Him, or the expectations of what we think “should” happen. He will not be manipulated by our biases.

Inherent in the book of Job is a choice we all have. We are invited to believe in the REALITY OF A JUST GOD, and simultaneously reject the ILLUSION OF A JUST WORLD.

When I feel helpless concerning those who are suffering, I too have the opportunity, to offer grace in my attitudes, words and actions; that which is unbiased by my idea of a just world; that which is undeserved; that which is offered as a gift from the heart of God; that which is the unexpected, spontaneous birthplace of a lifechanging miracle.

Pastor Ross


Whose side are You on? © Ross Cochrane

Demolition Football © Ross Cochrane

Reading Job 18 and 19 is like watching a game of RUGBY LEAGUE. The friends side has a bulldog called Bildad on their team. BILDAD THE SHUHITE may be small (excuse the pun on his name) but he’s built like a tank. He can parry the blows from Job’s side and tackle a man with the ferocity of bulldozer.

But the other side has JOB. He looks like a weakling, but surprisingly he has so far withstood some severe poundings and still got a few tries of his own. The man is quick in his defense tactics despite his injuries on the field.

The game rolls on. It’s almost half time, and JOB HAS POSSESSION OF THE BALL. He charges down the line and only Bildad stands in his way. It looks like Job doesn’t have a chance.

BILDAD DOESN’T FALL FOR JOB’S DUMMY PASS. He is not going to accept the “I’m innocent” assertion that Job gives. That doesn’t add up in his way of thinking. Only the wicked could go through what Job is going through so he says, “Speak sense if you want us to answer! …Do you think we are stupid?” (Job 18:2-3).

BILDAD IS READY TO TACKLE JOB! He starts trash talking to intimidate him. He yells out “I’m coming after you Job. Your light is about to be snuffed. In mid stride, you are going to hit a brick wall.” (Job 18:5-7 – my translation)

Have you ever seen those huge animal traps with the iron jaws that snap shut? If they had been around then, then that’s how Bildad would have described what Job has in store. Nice friend! He says, “Terrors surround the wicked and trouble them at every step.” (Job 18:11).

But he’s not finished with the trash talking. He says in effect “Everything that’s happened to you and your family – your diseased skin, your home and family destroyed, is an indication that you have ‘rejected God’” (Job 18:21).

THIS GUY INTENDS TO TAKE JOB DOWN. He says that Job is the kind of person who “…will have neither children nor grandchildren,” and people will say when he is dead, “This was the home of a wicked person, the place of one who rejected God.” (Job 18:21).

So Job’s reputation, according to Bildad, is up the creek. No-one’s going to say, “Hey what happened to that man who loved God?” Far from it. Bildad says, “All memory of their existence will fade from the earth, No one will remember their names.” (Job 18:17). No-one’s going to hang Job’s jersey in the HALL OF FAME.

Bildad must have had a bad childhood. Try getting through this man and it’s like trying to stand in the way of one of those HUGE DEMOLISHING BALLS on the end of a chain, swinging towards you. Let’s put it this way, it’s not as if you want to hug this man and tell him you never would have made it without him and his encouraging words.

Bildads words of encouragement are the lights of an oncoming train and not what you want to hear when you are on your death bed. As a Pastor, I am now a Chaplain of an Aged Care Facility. Reading Bildad’s words to those who will soon die from Job 18 is not going to be all that helpful.

But Job still has all his mental faculties. Somehow, after the blow, he is still coherent. HE’S GOING TO TAKE THIS LYING DOWN, but that’s only because he can’t stand up properly. He’s injured but not out cold. He says, “You should be ashamed of treating me so badly. Even if I have sinned, that is my concern, not yours. You think you’re better than I am, using my humiliation as evidence of my sin.” (Job 18:3-5)

Job says, “you spearheaded me into the ground and you know that is not fair, but that’s nothing compared to the tackle I received from God!” Job says he doesn’t understand. He is a man trying to play without a team. He can’t pass the ball. “I cry out, ‘Help!’ but no one answers me. I protest, but there is no justice. God has blocked my way so I cannot move.” (Job 19:7-8)

EVER FELT THAT WAY? I have. God seems to be playing on the other team. You feel every bit of dignity has deserted you, no hope, and somehow the humiliation keeps coming. You hear the deep sound of roots snapping as you fall like a tree and the connections that you thought would stabilize your life are torn out and exposed.

You feel like everyone has either turned against you or they just don’t care about playing the game anymore. Each step you take is met with a challenge and you are pushed back with the force of a rugby league player determined not to let you through. If you’ve been there, then JOB HAS IT 10 TIMES WORSE!

Job says, “My breath is repulsive to my wife. (My wife says I’ve got bad breath sometimes, but this is much worse). …My close friends detest me. Those I loved have turned against me. I have been reduced to skin and bones and have escaped death by the skin of my teeth. “Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy, for the hand of God has struck me. Must you also persecute me, like God does?” (Job 19:17-22 NLT)

All Job has left is what HE KNOWS ABOUT GOD AND HIS WORD. Sometimes that’s all I have left too. Everything else is stripped away and all I can say is what Job says in Job 18:25 (NLT) “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, … And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see Him for myself. Yes, I will see Him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!”

Me too! Oh, God, how amazing that will be! I love you, Lord. I declare without a doubt, no matter what my circumstances are, that “MY REDEEMER LIVES!”

Pastor Ross

PS Please pass this post on to others and I would love to read and respond to your comments.





This is Lefty’s take on Job 16-17. He tworks about how “the family” (Mafia) visits Job.

So dhese guys from the famly” come to visit Job, don’t dhey? An he’s dyin of cancer. His body is like emaciated and you can smell the decayin flesh. His open sores are like oozin poison. Looks like someone got to him good, if you knowwhadImean. He’s hurtin’ real bad

So anyways, dheclan” (Mafiosi) muscle in. Dhey knows Jobs bin a real “man of honour all is life, and dhey begin like dhey are dhere to bring comfot, but dhen dhey starrht trowin accusations at im all of a sudden. 

Who do they t’ink dhey arrh? Gawhd’s Mafia or somepint? Shoah, dey regarrhd Job as an “associate” or “frien but dhey treat him like nuttin’ mixed with nil.” 

Dere’s no respect. Dhe hot air of dheir woid bullets starht flyin. Dey say e deserves everythin e gets and dhat dis is the Gawhd Forther’s (ie God, the Father’s) judgmnt. You don’t cross the Gawhd Forther. It seems dhey are here to finish Job off on Gawhd’s behahf

Dhey’re bullies, arrigant, and proud. Dhey’re moah concerned wid Cosa Nostra “our thing”, “our interests  dhan with Job’s int’rests. Dhey considah dhemselves “men of respect” but dhey don’t give no respect to Job. 

Dhey have dhere opinions set in cement, see. Dhey say if Job cooperates he’ll have an easier time and gain certain priv’leges, protecsh’n, see, but dhey are nuttin’ but Gansters smugglindheir own bran’ of faith.

But Job ain’t gonna take t’ings lying down, you know? He says Fahgedaboudit!” He’s packin his own heat in his shouldah haulstah and returns fire wid platinum coated woids. I mean like his orat’ry is spoken widout apology.

Dhat’s like Job! He may be physiclly laid waste but he ain’t NO PUSHOVER. He fires back in Job 16:1-6 when ‘e says (Lefty’s Version), “You got a beef wid me?I have hoid all dhis before. Whad miserable comforders you arrh! Won’ you evah stahp blowin haht air? Whad makes you keep ahn tawrking? I could say the same things if you werh in my shoes. I could spout orff criticism and shake my head at you. But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try ta take away youh grief. Instead, I suffer if I defen myself, and I suffer no less if I refuse to tawrk. Now that is LAYING IT ON THE LINE, see? Job ain’t takin no nahnsense. He wishes there was an omerta (code of silence). They tawhk too much, see.


At dat point Job breaks inta prayer. He don’t know what Gawhd is doing but he tinks Gawhd hates him, you know? He tells Gawhd about his friends and says that Gawrhd has thrown him among a gang of mahbsters, kind of like the Mafia, who have blacklisted him and drive around his house with deir tahmmy guns blazin and he is the tarrhget. See, dhat’s what e says in Job 16:12-14 (Lefty version) which says “I was living quietly until He shattered me. He took me by the neck and broke me in pieces. Den He set me up as His tahrget, and now His gangsters surround me. His bullets (arrows) pierce me widout mercy. The ground is wet with my blood. Again and again He smashes against me, charrging at me like a soulja (soldier, warrior).”  

Dhen comes the cruhnchah (cruncher). Job 16:17-20 says, Yet I have done no wrorng, and my prayher is puah…. My advocate is dere on high. I need someone ta mediate between Gawhd and me, as a person mediates between friens. For soon I must go down dhat road frahm which I will never return. He’s tawhkin’ about dyin’, see.

See, Job needs a mediator bad, a tird (third) person to represen’ him, to stand between him and Gawhd. He needs a Mediatah, not the Marhfia!

Of course Lefty’s story touches me deep in my spirit. Job needs an advocate. Years before Christ has come, Job speaks about an advocate in heaven, who can mediate earth’s point of view to heaven, and heaven’s point of view to earth.

Everyone of us needs that kind of mediation, and we have it in the person of Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NLT) says “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.”  

1 John 2:1-2 (NLT) says “we have an Advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the One who is truly righteous.  He Himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.”  

In Job 17:1 Job continues this most beautiful of prayers. He gives voice to the human spirit as he calls upon God and says “You must defend my innocence, O God, since no one else will stand up for me. My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires are broken. These men say that night is day; they claim that the darkness is light. Where then is my hope? Can anyone find it?”

Lefty’s right. Job’s friends are Mafia-like nuttin’ but Gansters smugglindheir own bran’ of faith, trying to call night day instead of listening to Job and offering him the hope of a mediator.

Or as Lefty would say I’ve gotta axe myself, Whad kine of comforder am I when I am wid a frien’ in pain? Are my woids like dha haht air of a bullet that h’s ev’ryone running for cahvah in it’s wake, woundin’ people wid shrapnel? 

See, what Job really needed was a mediator, a “t’ird person to represen’ him, to stand between him and Gawhd.”  

Today, Lefty reveals the invitation of Job 16-17 which calls to us down through the centuries for us to place our trust in Jesus Christ alone as our mediator. No matter what you are facing right now, there is always hope. Christ died for us. He paid the penalty for our sin. He mediates for us as our advocate before God. Neither Satan nor can anyone else bring accusation against us. There is always hope for every situation we face as we trust in our Saviour and Lord.

Pastor Ross


Job 15 - Friendly Fire © Ross Cochrane

Job 15 – Friendly Fire © Ross Cochrane

We engaged the insurgents from high ground, looking down on the village from behind a hummock and inside an eroded gully.

By the second day Operation Headway was running into some serious opposition from the enemy, who were firing from the crumbling ruins of an old stone wall in the village, the stuttering sound of their AK-47’s and the breath of sniper bullets all to close for comfort. We had no success in making any ground and were frustrated by their defence at each attempt.

I climbed to higher ground behind us to radio for support from the Tactical Operations Centre (TOC) and suddenly heard aircraft scream by our position, one so low that I could almost smell the pilot’s deodorant. The Fire Support Officer (FSO) explained that the aircraft were ours, but they were completing a bombing raid several miles away.

As I watched, the aircraft completed their first bombing run and then circled around for a second pass. This time, as they made their final approach, one plane peeled off, peppering our position with 20mm cannon fire.

I screamed into the microphone to the FSO, telling him we were under friendly fire, but in the rush for cover, the radio had been damaged by Shrapnel. The casing of the set had been ripped away, saving my life in the process. I felt the heat of the bomb blast that followed (Mk-20s) before I passed out, only to wake up in an Evac camp with some serious injuries. (Fictional story based on actual events).

Friendly fire occurs when there is intent to do harm to the enemy, but injury is caused to your own side. Eliphaz is treating Job as the enemy and his friendly fire is relentless.

A good friend will cheer you up when you are in hospital and experiencing incredible pain and suffering. Not Eliphaz the Temanite! When Job seeks to explain to Him that he does not know why God has a heavy hand upon him, you can hear the chatter of an M16 as Eliphaz says, in a loving way (not!), “A wise man wouldn’t answer with such empty talk! You are nothing but a windbag. The wise don’t engage in empty chatter. What good are such words?” (Job 15:2 NLT). Perhaps Eliphaz should apply his words to himself. A wise person will stop the debate at this point and start praying for the poor guy instead of trying to take him out with accusations about his sin.

But Eliphaz isn’t finished. He throws a grenade and calls Job a liar. He says, “Your sins are telling your mouth what to say. Your words are based on clever deception. Your own mouth condemns you, not I. Your own lips testify against you.” (Job 15:5,6 NLT). Perhaps you’ve experienced a person who condemns you by projecting their own weaknesses on you. Eliphaz is the one who is deceived, not Job!

Eliphaz is under the deception that he is giving Job cover fire, comforting words of encouragement instead of words designed to detonate the explosive force of accusation and judgment (Job 15:11).

Eliphaz says in Job 15:12 (NLT)What has taken away your reason? What has weakened your vision, that you turn against God and say all these evil things?” If Eliphaz were speaking about people in general, his questions might have a great deal of impact. Listen to what he has to say, … “Can any mortal be pure? Can anyone born of a woman be just? Look, God does not even trust the angels. Even the heavens are not absolutely pure in His sight (He knew his theology and that there was a spiritual battle taking place). How much less pure is a corrupt and sinful person with a thirst for wickedness!”

The Bible says Romans 3:23 (NLT) “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” so what Eliphaz is saying is right, but he applies it to the wrong person. Job has already admitted that he has sinned in the past and that he is not aware of any sin in his life now. He says that if there is sin in his life now he has asked God to reveal it. Job has his life right with God. Sin is not the issue here!

But Eliphaz has a one track mind. Unfortunately, his aerial reconnaissance mistakes Job as one of the enemy troops. He implies that the similarities are obvious,

“The wicked writhe in pain throughout their lives. … They know their day of destruction is near. … They live in distress and anguish, … For they shake their fists at God, defying the Almighty. … Their riches will not last, and their wealth will not endure. … For the godless are barren. Their homes, enriched through bribery, will burn. They conceive trouble and give birth to evil.”

Job can’t refute that he is in pain, distress and anguish, that his wealth is gone and that he’s in trouble. But will somebody just pray for him instead of trying to take him out with accusations based on assumption?

What about me?

  • Do my friends back away because of the presumptions I apply wrongly to their lives due to my own rigid thinking?
  • Do they say to themselves “He misuses the Bible because he uses it’s words as a club instead of as a means of comfort.”
  • Am I projecting my own weaknesses onto others in order to appear to be better than they are? Am I treating them as the enemy and using friendly fire to injure them?
  • Am I so concerned with proving a point sometimes that I miss the opportunity to really listen and have something of value to give?
  • Is my motivation to get people to agree with me or bring healing to their lives?
  • Do I really listen to what they are saying and then try to grasp what God would have me do to help?
  • Does Eliphaz need to apply his own words to himself?

If Eliphaz is flying a mission in a Jet fighter then he is dropping bombs over his own base. He is trying to take out the wrong man with “friendly fire”. Intending to take out the enemy he is causing injury to his friend. Eliphaz has mistaken Job for the enemy!

The invitation of Job 15 is simply to be careful with your words. Let’s not take out our own with friendly fire.

Pastor Ross


What happens when the pain won't stop © Ross Cochrane using and

What happens when the pain won’t stop © Ross Cochrane using and

My grandson, who is almost 4 years old (2010), wants to play Spiderman, and his mother is more interested in him eating his evening meal. A conflict arises and voices are raised while mouthfuls of food are being intentionally shovelled into his mouth. He is in a situation he doesn’t like, and so he complains and argues his case before his mother in between the mouthfuls and sometimes during.

My grandson has raised his voice of complaint to the point of exasperating his mother with his disobedience. He knows that in a while he will be in big trouble! He does not want to hear his Mother being angry with him.

Too late! Or is it? Just as his mother begins to outline the impending consequences of his disobedience, half way through his mother’s sentence, he interrupts. He is not willing to hear those words and before she is finished saying them, he says in a loud voice “STOP, MUM!”

His reasoning is – if his Mum stops everything she is about to say, then he will have time to explain his case further. “Time out”. Ever feel that way when you are under pressure – “Stop the world, I need time to think! I need time out!”

Job is totally exasperated with his friends and their accusations. You keep saying that God is judging me because of my sin, but I am innocent. “Are you defending God with lies? … Your platitudes are as valuable as ashes. Your defence is as fragile as a clay pot. “Be silent now and leave me alone” (Job 13:7,12-13 NLT). Time out!

He says to God in effect “Stop Lord! If you just give me a little parole from my pain, I would be able to pray to You and present to you my side of things”.

Unlike my grandson, Job is not being disobedient. He just wants relief while he prays.

God are you holding out on me. What have I done to deserve the agony I am in. I can’t think of anything that may have caused it. Is there something I have done of which I am unaware. Tell me, what have I done wrong? Show me my rebellion and my sin. Why do you turn away from me? Why do you treat me as Your enemy? … I waste away like rotting wood, like a moth-eaten coat” (Job 13:23-24, 28 NLT).

Always a good idea to ask God these questions. You’ll be surprised what comes to mind when you ask Him “What have I done wrong?” For Job, the second question was important too, Why do you turn away from me?” because he knew it had nothing to do with his sin. He feels as if he’s being treated like God’s enemy. God can still seem far away from me at times and it’s not particularly because I have sinned. The real question is “Am I prepared for the answers that God may give?”

When I don’t know all the facts, am I still willing to trust God? What if I don’t get well? What if the pain doesn’t subside? I can’t hope to know the “what ifs”.

Job makes some astounding comments in Job 14 about life and death. “I wish You would hide me in the grave and forget me there until Your anger has passed” (Job 14:13 – NLT). I am happy to be raised up again when it’s all over. That would be better than going through what I have to bear. Kind of time out in the bunker while the atmosphere loses it’s toxicity.

What would have happened if Christ had by-passed the suffering? The cross tells me that even pain can be used for God’s purposes.


Heard it all before? No pain, no gain? Easy to say, if you are not Job. Nevertheless true, no matter who you are! Pain is a furnace from which is wrought the most amazing of strengths in the human character, but it is also capable of revealing the most potentially destructive of our weaknesses.

Job expresses it this way – “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15 KJV).

Job 14:1,2,5,10, (NLT) says “How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble! … We blossom like a flower and then wither. Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear. … You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer. …” 

Lord, when I cannot fathom what is happening to me, I understand that I am in Your hands and You are working out Your purposes in and through my life.

Pastor Ross. 

If this message has been meaningful to you, please pass it on to 2 or 3 other people, and I would love to hear any responses or thoughts you have.

God bless,



JOB THE LION-HEARTED © Ross Cochrane Scroll-sawing.

JOB THE LION-HEARTED © Ross Cochrane Scroll-sawing.

There is a small rippling tremor in his side with the next spasm of pain, as he lies, flattened in the grass, ears back, eyes wide with concentration and fear. His breathing is shallow and life ebbs red from the entrance of the broken spear that has pierced his lungs. His flanks, torn and wet, are heaving with the loss of blood, but his eyes are intent, muscles tense and controlled, claws clinging to these last ounces of life which redden the earth, ready for a final unleashing of power. His ears twitch ever so slightly as voices on the breeze give even greater focus for the rush.

They say a wounded lion is more of a threat than a healthy one. Hungry and driven to rage by its wounds, it can become extremely defensive and dangerous. Job is that lion, attacked by his friends.

They thrust their words at him, sharp and opinionated with judgment. Proverbs 26:1 says “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” but the lion-hearted Job is in need of physicians for friends, not hunters. He is direct and meets the challenge of their words with brutal honesty “As for you, you smear me with lies. As physicians, you are worthless … If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do” … Job 13:3-5 (NLT).

I like Job’s honesty. Abandoned and lying in the dust, with life ebbing away, the wounded lion attacks as a last act of defiance. When you have come to the end of your rope, you become brutally honest with your friends and with God. That can’t be a bad thing, and his friends would have felt the force of his words.

Yet I notice that although Job is frank, he does not say things that he will later regret. A question worth asking is “When I am being brutally honest, am I more brutal than honest?” Job does not use the viciously cruel words of his friends, but he is direct and truthful.

Wounded physically and emotionally drained, as he challenges his friends, Job is also caught in a spiritual battle,

Ephesians 6:10-12 (NLT) says “… For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

As the next spasm of pain comes, his quiet, warm, rumbling voice carries softly in the breeze. Suddenly like the release of a coiled spring, he charges from the grass toward the evil one, clawing the earth with righteous indignation. With the strength of God pulsing through his body he knows, despite his injuries, despite the wounds of lies and accusations, that Victory roars with the voice of Truth.

Pastor Ross


I NEED YOUR SUPPORT, NOT YOUR ASSUMPTIONS © Ross Cochrane using and ipad apps.

I NEED YOUR SUPPORT, NOT YOUR ASSUMPTIONS © Ross Cochrane using and ipad apps.

Some time ago my sciatic nerve was pinched and I experienced excruciating pain radiating from my lower back to below the knee. My wife Julie prayed for me and took me to outpatients at the hospital! After hours of waiting, a simple but effective painkiller was administered and I was grateful for the next few hours of relief.

I can only imagine what it was like for Job in constant pain and suffering to the point of death. Job’s friends make no attempt at praying for him! Their verbal tirade only adds to his misery.

Their verbal assault is the last thing Job really needs. He cries out for their support, not their assumptions. Everybody seems to have their simplistic formulas as to why he isn’t healed – he doesn’t have enough faith, he has sinned and God is punishing him, his time is up, etc. Logic is the beginning of knowledge, not necessarily wisdom. Divorced of love, their ill-conceived assumptions, based on faulty logic, provide Job will little to no support and even less, if that is possible, compassion.

Zophar accuses Job, “Should I remain silent while you babble on? When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed?” He says if Job doesn’t repent of his sin then he’s in more trouble with God, in Job 11:20, “…the wicked will be blinded. They will have no escape. Their only hope is death.” Mark Twain said it’s the things we know for certain, but which are not true, that get us into trouble.

I like Job’s response to his friends. For the record, “You people really know everything, don’t you? And when you die, wisdom will die with you! Well, I know a few things myself— and you’re no better than I am. Who doesn’t know these things you’ve been saying?” (Job 12:2 NLT). It’s not that I am mocking God It’s that you are mocking me.

Unlike his friends, Job thinks God has inflicted this suffering upon him despite the fact that he is a right living man. Job wants to abandon his counsellor friends and go to God directly to find out why. A wise choice, but how sad is this; to have a hurting friend want to abandon you because of your lack of compassion concerning his suffering?

In Job 12:4 he says “… my friends laugh at me, for I call on God and expect an answer. I am a just and blameless man, yet they laugh at me, … my disaster has come from the hand of the Lord. For the life of every living thing is in His hand, and the breath of every human being. Yes, strength and wisdom are His; deceivers and deceived are both in His power. He leads counsellors away, stripped of good judgment; wise judges become fools (that seems to be a very cutting reference to his friends).”

Job virtually says God’s sovereign decisions are seen in nature, culture, religion and national affairs. With such all-encompassing sovereign autonomy it’s quite possible that He can also allow good people to suffer. God does what He likes and I am at a loss to understand it. That’s why I want to go directly to Him (Job 12:10-25 NLT).

Job 12 is an invitation to gather around a hurting friend and ask God to bring healing to their lives. It is not a time to offer a string of unsubstantiated opinions as facts as to what they should or shouldn’t do? Mother Teresa said “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” Suffering is an opportunity to express Christ’s love and lead them to Him, not simply to my theological assumptions?

Pastor Ross




He turns the ignition key to his truck. The engine roars with the sudden injection of fuel and rumbles into life with powerful and ominous intention. Zophar the Naamathite is driving an old, rusted out, open-box bed dump truck, hinged at the back and with leaking hydraulics to lift the front.

His friends carelessly climb on board to ride with him without wearing the required safety belts and shoulder harnesses. They urge him on during his dumping operations.

With a full load, Zophar does not deviate from his task. Today he is not dumping a truckload of sand, gravel, crushed rock, or coal. Today, he will not be conducting any tests to analyse the nature, weight, quantity and quality of his words. Today he disregards any standards of compassion, ruthlessly driving the unregistered, unregulated vehicle of his arguments.

Zophar engages the reverse gear without thinking that lives could be severely injured by the load he intends discharging. He is not exercising any caution. As he backs towards Job, his theology is, Your sins are seen by God and that’s why you’re suffering, so repent or you’ll die! “…the wicked will be blinded. They will have no escape. Their only hope is death.” (Job 11:20 NLT).

Job tries to tell him he doesn’t have any great sin in his life. He is innocent! Zophar keeps revving his engine, not willing to listen. “Should I remain silent while you babble on? When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed? … Listen! God is doubtless punishing you far less than you deserve!” (Job 11:3-4 NLT). Subtle as a rusted out dump truck! He almost goes as far to say that Job is empty headed and has no hope of understanding (Job 11:12).  

Dumping operations are potentially dangerous. The terrain he traverses is uneven and exceptionally muddy, an uncertain foundation at best, but he does not consider that his truck may roll over at any time. He is making a lot of false assumptions about Job. In Zophar’s thinking, no-one is allowed to question God or express how they truly feel. “Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything about the Almighty? Such knowledge is higher than the heavens— and who are you? It is deeper than the underworld— what do you know?” (Job 11:7-8 NLT) 

Without checking for Overhead clearance, he releases the tailgate, blundering backwards towards Job, lining him up in his rear vision display. The reverse warning signal has been deliberately disabled. When he pulls the lever and the crank turns to tilt the truck body to the desired angle, it is a truckload of toxic judgments that is dumped all over Job.


Instead of an ambulance, Zophar drives a dump truck. A better approach surely would be to come alongside Job and ask him how he could help, but instead Job receives a constant barrage of toxic words about how sinful he must be to be suffering so much.

Zophar is driving an unregistered vehicle without a licence. He is a know-it-all, a religious, pompous Pharisee who thinks he knows the road rules for life but has little experience. He is more concerned with big-noting himself with his fancy air horns; his so-called wisdom, than listening to someone else. He refuses to acknowledge he may be wrong and is indignant at anyone else who might have an opinion or another point of view, no matter how Godly the person may be.

I want friends who are willing to keep me accountable for what I believe, but Zophar has stepped over the line! He is driving a heavy load with no qualifications. He is committing a great sin himself and he can’t see it!

I have noticed that there have been times when I am capable of projecting my own sins upon others and there’s a blind spot in the mirror to what is going on in my own life? Anyone of us is capable of being a Pharisee reversing a dump truck of legalism. He seems incapable of taking his own advice,

“Offload your sins, and dump all iniquity behind you. Then your load will feel the lightness of innocence. You’ll feel the power of an engine which is strong and free of fear. It will be like emptying your load of misery in the river and watching it flow away. Your life will be brighter than fog lights and you’ll drive right through the darkness until the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning. Having hope will give you courage. The road will be safe and You will be protected and you will rest in safety. When it comes to your break time, you will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you to help them” (Job 11:14-19 Truckers version).

Nothing wrong with offloading sins. We all deal with things we have to bring before God concerning sinful behaviours. But simplistic theology won’t help Job. Zophar is wrong about Job and wrong about God. In this case, God allowed unpredictable and seemingly unfair suffering in the life of a person whose relationship with God was in order. All we know is that God has purposes that we don’t fully understand. The answer for Job and for us is not simply to repent but to trust.

When Jesus died, He had a truckload of condemnation as our sins were dumped upon Him. He understands suffering. The invitation of Job 11 is to drive an ambulance not a dump truck; to bring the perspective, compassion, healing, hope and love of Christ to those in the midst of difficult, complex and confusing circumstances.

Pastor Ross


Hornett's nest © Ross Cochrane

Hornett’s nest © Ross Cochrane

When a 13-year-old girl calls indigenous player Adam Goodes an “ape” in a football game, he points her out to officials and complains of “racism”. She is taken from the field and questioned by police. She apologises and he doesn’t lay charges.

Now Adam Goodes, dual Brownlow Medallist and former Australian of the year, is constantly booed by the crowd, disliked by a large proportion of the football community with each new game he plays. A war dance in defiance of the crowd did nothing to help.

Any criticism he receives from the crowd or the press is regarded by his supporters and the AFL as racism. Politicians say he is being racially vilified. A lawyer says that the booing is a form of workplace bullying. “He’s become a target.” “It’s unfair.” Tried unjustly by a jeering crowd.

Many think he is a whinger with a victim mentality rather than a role model for the indigenous community of Australia. Because of the constant booing at every game, Goodes has asked for time off and may consider retiring from football altogether.

Is Adam the innocent one and is the crowd wickedly expressing it’s racism? Innocent or guilty, he is badly in need of someone who can objectively mediate and defuse the situation so that he can once again play the game.

If anyone has a right to think “It’s not fair!” it is Job. Despite his life-threatening illness, Job has also become unpopular with his friends and they regale him with their disapproval. His only hope is to turn to God for help but is that the face of God in the crowd, taunting him as well? It seems that even God is against him. “What do You gain by oppressing me? Why do You reject me, the work of Your own hands, while smiling on the schemes of the wicked? (Job 10:3 NLT). “It’s not fair!”

Supporters can be fickle and callous, but what really disturbs Job is the nagging thought that God may be just as unfair as his friends.

Job can see that, to his knowledge, he has done everything to keep his relationship with God right, but somehow he thinks he’s missed something. If he could bring God into a courtroom, he would say “Don’t simply condemn me— tell me the charge You are bringing against me” (Job 10:2 NLT).

Grief-stricken, suffering, desperate, longing for death, abandoned and falsely accused by his so-called friends, Job endures each agonising blow and longs for God to intervene, but he is not sure of the outcome. “I could only plead for mercy… Even if I summoned Him and He responded, I’m not sure He would listen to me” (Job 9:15-32).

I guess there are times when I wonder what God is doing. I know He is a loving God but sometimes, life is just not fair.

I wonder how would I feel if I were Adam Goodes, judged by a booing crowd. Or how would I feel if I were in Job’s shoes? Suffering extreme pain and on the edge of death, but not dying? Having friends around me who don’t have a clue what is going on, but who criticise me and try to give me simple solutions that just don’t fit the complex problems I have?


If the only way to prove my integrity is to take God to court, it’s all pointless, Job thinks. “Who has ever challenged Him successfully?” (Job 9:3-4 NLT). As a defendant I may put on a brave face in the witness stand but “Whatever happens, I will be found guilty. So what’s the use of trying?” (Job 9:29 NLT, Job 9:30-31). I might as well not play the game.

I cannot defend myself before God (Job 9:9-12, 15-16, 19). “… Who am I, that I should try to answer God or even reason with Him?” (Job 9:14 NLT). He realises that the creator God can’t go on trial any more than God can be accused of being guilty of a crime?


Have you ever found yourself asking these questions…

Is God being fair? Does my innocence matter to Him? (Job 9:22). Does God care about me? Does He care about anyone? (Job 9:23). Do I want to serve a God who either causes agony or simply watches and lets bad things happen to good people? If I could stop someone from all this agony, I would. Why doesn’t God intervene into my circumstances? Is God angry at me for no particular reason? (Job 9:5-9, 13). Is the Creator of the Universe bullying me just because He can? (Job 9:17-18). Is God punishing me? O God, how is this fair? Is God fair? (Job 9:21-22 NLT). These are such good questions. In this life, we certainly don’t have all the answers we long for. Neither does Job.


Job thinks, God is wise, unchallengeable and strong. He makes decisions without consultation or warning (Job 9:4-10. Compared to God’s character, my innocence seems so insignificant. Even the most upright person on earth cannot be justified in His presence. “… How can a person be declared innocent in God’s sight?” (Job 9:2 NLT).

Interesting. The Bible says there is a way to be declared forgiven but I can’t recall we are ever declared to be innocent.

Job realises that he cannot demand anything but mercy from a righteous and just God (Job 9:15). Even his outward blamelessness would pale in significance when compared to the holiness of God (Job 9:20-21). He would not stand a chance… “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NLT). Isaiah 64:6 (NLT) says “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.”


He is fed up with living at all. God seems to laugh at innocent people who are struggling in life, standing up for what is right, and seems to be blind to the fact that wicked people get away with things they do and say. God is unfair!

Job thinks, “If only there were a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together” (Job 9:33 NLT). If only God was a man, then I could reason with Him.

What Job needs is someone on his side to present his case before a holy and just God. A man who knows what it is like to be reviled by the crowd, treated unfairly, accused of a crime and condemned to a painful death, but who is not only innocent of outward blame but inwardly perfect and pure. He longs for a mediator to stand between him and God (Job 9:33-35). His friends are neither willing nor able. Who can stand before God and speak on his behalf?

How prophetic is that?

The New Testament says “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5 NLT).

“The mediator could make God stop beating me, and I would no longer live in terror of His punishment. Then I could speak to Him without fear, but I cannot do that in my own strength” (Job 9:34,35 NLT).

Like countless thousands over the years, Job entertains the idea of God being unfair. If God is not responsible, who is? He has no understanding that Satan has brought about his dire circumstances or that his faith is being tested in adversity. Even God is unfairly presumed to be guilty.

Job anticipates the cry of the human heart throughout history for a mediator; the Lord Jesus Christ, the perfect Mediator between God and man, the only one who can interpret God’s heart to man and man’s heart to God. Deeply embedded in our soul is a longing to be reconciled with God. No one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Here is where the Justice, Fairness and Love of God meet – at the Cross and in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Christ smashes the distorted justice-hall-of-mirrors and we see a true image of ourselves reflected in His eyes. The maze of false and confusing, and sometimes frightening images of our lives reflected in the booing crowd, finds a truer perspective as we wait in the shadow of the Cross.

God has a way of resurrecting that which we think has died, of finding purpose in that which we see of no use, in finding the way when there is no way, in finding truth when all we have is uncertainty, in finding life and salvation when we can not possibly save ourselves.

Will Adam Goodes be willing to play again for the Swans? Perhaps a more all-encompassing and important question in the light of the book of Job is, are we willing to reconciled to God through Christ?

Pastor Ross